Introduction

Wild Time

Spring

Feel the beat of spring

Be dazzled by bluebells

Harken to a bittern's boom

Seek a swooping sand martin

Pen poetry among daffodils

Sway with dancing grebes

Get sent packing by a grouse

Take a ringside seat

Track down a tiger

Watch a rare sky dance

Chatter with a natterjack

Enjoy the great rush north

Look up in awe

Shine a light on newts

Eavesdrop on a nightingale

Go spotting early orchids

Follow a sat-tagged osprey

Gape at hunting hobbies

Nurse a passion for purple

Scour riverbanks for Ratty

Tip-toe among fritillaries

Summer

Hail the success of avocets

Go batty as night falls

Bewitched by a buttercup

Play the summertime blues

Thrill to damsels and dragonflies

Go after Dartford warbler

Make a splash with gannets

Stake out a badger sett

Hurrah for the king

Rejoice in Manxie's chorus

Delight in a glow worm

Fall for THE fastest bird

Be spellbound by orchids

Journey to a seabird city

Exalt at a skylark's song

Party with the puffins

Lounge with a lizard

Haunt a churring nightjar

Head seawards on safari

Discover the rare spoonbill

Join the toadlet exodus

Spot our largest butterfly

Wear a hat for terns

Hunt woodland beauties

Autumn

Admire our eager beavers

Marvel at migration

Forage for Autumn's bounty

Go nuts over squirrel nutkin

Ramble through purple

Gaze in awe at reds' rut

Wander in the wild wood

Cheer on the salmon run

Try a wild goose chase

Foray for fungi

Winter

Pay homage to the Russians

Go on a winter ghost hunt

Wonder at wintering waders

Fall in love with a seal pup

Hear Britain's tallest bird

Revel in roosting wagtails

Kiss beneath mistletoe

'Ooh' & 'aah' at murmurations

Lie in wait for an otter

Rock 'n' roll with geology

Wrap up for a raptor roost

Delight in a glow-worm

Glow worm © Robin Scagell

Watch as grasslands light up with glow-worms on the lookout for love.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of spotting the ethereal green lamp of a glow-worm on a summer’s evening.

Not actually a worm at all, our glow-worm is a small beetle of meadows, grassland and hedgerows. Glow-worms live for up to three years as predatory larvae, living under rocks and hidden deep in grassy tussocks where they feed on snails. Once they’ve matured, they emerge as adults who are active for just a few weeks during the summer. The adults don’t feed, but instead put all their energies into mating.

The flightless females are the ones who do most of the glowing, climbing up into tall grasses on still, dark evenings where they produce the greenish lights to attract the attention of passing males as they fly along open areas beside hedgerows, paths and embankments in search of a mate. This bioluminescence is created through a chemical reaction that takes place in the beetle’s abdomen. And it’s not only the female that glows. The larvae can glow as well, and even glow-worm eggs can emit light.

How to do it

Late June and early July is the best time to go on a glow-worm hunt. Choose a still, warm evening with a crescent moon (glow-worms are less likely to glow with a full moon). And try not to use a torch. Let your eyes adjust to the dark, and then you are more likely to pick out the faint green glow of the glow-worm.

If you can’t get to the special places listed below…Glow-worms are well distributed across much of England and Wales, although they are rare in Scotland. They are at their most numerous on calcareous grasslands where there are plenty of small snail species for them to feed on. So try visiting your local grassland nature reserve after dark, and see what you can find.

Special spots

Glow-worms gleam at Bystock Pools near Exmouth, Devon. During some summer nights the number of lights can approach 100 in the reserve’s grassland, a magical sight on a late evening walk.

Cambridgeshire,  Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits

Essex,  Iron Latch  - join a glow-worm walk in summer

London, Frays Farm Meadows and Denham Lock Wood

Suffolk,  Blaxhall Common

Suffolk,  Newbourne Springs

Glow worm © John Tyler

View Site in Mobile | Classic
Share by: