We recently ran a creative workshop as part of our Pine Marten Project to make feeder boxes for Pine Martens at National Trust’s Cragside in Northumberland.

What exactly are feeder boxes?

They are wooden boxes which can be filled with food, such as peanuts, and installed on a tree. A camera trap can be trained on the box to record Pine Martens and any other species, such as Red Squirrels, that visit them. If the videos and photos from the cameras are good enough quality, we can even start to distinguish individual Pine Martens and determine how many martens are in the area. Pine Martens haven’t yet been recorded at the Cragside Estate, but are known to be in other woodlands nearby, and it’s hoped that these feeder boxes will help us to determine when Pine Martens move onto the estate.

Pine Martens are still rare in Northumberland, so any information we can gather on the population will be hugely helpful in conserving the species.

(c) Robert Cruikshanks

The workshop was organised with Sian Hughes and Sarah Jane Richards; artists who are working with Back from the Brink to deliver Community Art events such as this which promote conservation through art.

It was great to have almost 70 people come and build a feeder box!

Building the boxes involved drilling pre-cut pieces of wood together, so many children got to have a go at using a drill for the very first time! (fully supervised of course!).

When they were built, the boxes were then painted and everyone was able to make their own mark by painting them with their choice of colours and templates! All of this was overseen by “Scottie”, our taxidermy Pine Marten from Scotland. He proved to be a real hit particularly with the children, who had never seen a Pine Marten “in the flesh” before. It was a wonderful day and great to see such a range of people getting involved in conservation!

Overall, we made 21 feeder boxes which will be put up with camera traps around Cragside to hopefully record Pine Martens in the area.

Take a look at these helpful sheets! Download them here:

Instructions for Pine Marten box


Lizzie Croose, Sarah Jayne and Sian Hughes

Senior Science and Research Officer, Vincent Wildlife Trust & Back from the Brink artists for the North - SJ and Sian.




Would you like to help these incredible species? There are numerous ways in which you can:

  • Why not volunteer for Back from the Brink? Check out our events page for opportunities near you.
  • Help us to spread the word of this species, and the others we will be helping over the next 3 years, by sharing our message across our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Follow us: @naturebftb.
  • Finally - help support the work we do across England by donating. Our impact will be greater with your help.