Pine martens

Pine martens by Stuart Edmunds

Pine martens were presumed extinct in Shropshire for over a century and numerous reported sightings of these elusive mammals between 1976 and 2015 were never verified. Then, July 2015, a small population was discovered, having been substantiated by video evidence collected on camera traps. It is possible that pine martens clung on in Shropshire and surrounding counties undetected for decades.

This year, I have been extremely excited by the discovery of more pine martens in an area of woodland adjacent to the Stiperstones. Three new martens have shown up regularly on those camera traps and the site is now the most active area for martens we have studied so far.

A male and female have appeared and the third marten is likely to be one of their offspring. If this is definitely the case, it would be the first evidence of a naturally occurring pine marten population breeding in the wild in England for half a century.

Further monitoring is required across the wider area and additional woodlands along the English/Welsh border to determine the distribution of martens, to monitor behavior and to protect the woodland on which they depend.

Shropshire Wildlife Trust has not been involved with releases of pine martens in the county, but a number of pine martens have been released by other organisations in Wales and Gloucestershire since the discovery of martens in Shropshire and those animals are likely to encounter each other soon (they might already have!).

The more people that understand the ecology of pine martens, the better a chance we have at ensuring their future. Anyone with woodland is encouraged to get in touch with Stuart Edmunds at to discuss monitoring of their land with camera traps.