Historical and modern records of the Glow Worm in Nottinghamshire
The past few years have seen us put out appeals via various forms of media, in our search for past and present Glow Worm records. However, all efforts have drew a complete blank and in an attempt to get dots on the map, we asked the national Glow Worm recorder and the UK Glow Worm survey for all their Nottinghamshire records. We had immediate responses from both, but in the end, actually gained only a few new dots on the existing map we had.
In June 2012, the county's coleoptera recorder sent the records held by the NBGRC and this gave us more locations to add to the maps and confirms that the Glow Worm has always been pretty much confined to the forested areas of Nottinghamshire.

Two of the records date from 2003, so this has given us a couple more dots on the maps than previously. We now believe that we have all the known Glow Worm locations in Nottinghamshire.

Glow Worm distribution in Nottinghamshire

So our modern knowledge of the Glow Worm's Nottinghamshire distribution, continues to rely on what we think, rather than what we know.

It is safe to claim that we know little more about the current status of the Glow Worm in Nottinghamshire now, than Victorian naturalists did over 100 years ago. The one fact we should actually know, is whether or not the Glow Worm has actually declined in the county. Certainly there is a lack of modern records from many of its known sites, but is this through genuine decline, or just a lack of recording?

The problem is that few people, other than ourselves and a handful of others, are actively going out and recording Glow Worms in Nottinghamshire. Anti-social behaviour and the fear of violence, must play a considerable part in stopping people venturing out after dark in certain areas, which can be quite understood as personal safety has to come first, so public reporting is always going to be unlikely.

The Nottinghamshire county recorder is still of the opinion that Glow Worms are quite widespread throughout the county, yet the distribution maps would claim otherwise and the lack of historical records or reported sites, would suggest that Glow Worms have never actually been widespread. Certainly, there must be an element of secrecy regarding some colonies in Nottinghamshire and while we have been informed of at least one healthy colony on private land in the Dukeries, there must be others out there.

If other people are indeed keeping an eye on their local colony, then they are not letting on. This is a shame really, because nationally collated data suggests that the Glow Worm has actually decreased in the past 100 years. This may well be the case, but has our most charming beetle declined in Nottinghamshire? The answer is probably yes, but it is proving that it has declined effectively through a lack of surveying, that seems to be the main problem.

Nottinghamshire Glow Worm distribution maps

The map above right shows all traceable Glow Worm records from within Nottinghamshire, including all historical sites. The two maps below, show the Glow Worm's modern distribution as of the end of May 2018, overlaid onto maps showing the county's areas of woodland and basic geology.

When we drew the original records map up, the north-south strip of records running almost the length of the county was immediately evident. Yet aside from a 1992 record in a Blyth garden, there are no other confirmed records from areas north of Worksop, east of Ollerton and Nottingham, around Southwell, Retford and Newark, although J.W. Carr does list that Glow Worms were reported from the Retford district (Pegler). Mercia Mudstones comprise much of the Trent Valley flood plain and is the lowest part of Nottinghamshire. This whole area is depleted of Glow Worm records but for the Carlton, Colwick and Holme Pierrepont areas of Nottingham and Keyworth in the far south of the county. The dot in the very east of the county map is near Stapleford, but by this point, Mercia Mudstone has given way to Lias Limestones.

It seems clear then, that the Glow Worm's Nottinghamshire distribution, is as much governed by geology as anything else, preferring soils other than that found in the Trent Valley, with most known sites being located on Sherwood Sandstones in west Nottinghamshire. Accordingly, the majority of sites would also have once been within the most wooded parts of Nottinghamshire.

Recorded historical and modern Glow Worm sites in Nottinghamshire

This list was last updated on 12/07/20 and includes all sites from which Glow Worms have been reported.

  • Sites highlighted in blue are known to still be active - post 2000
  • Sites highlighted in grey need further surveying work
  • Non-shaded sites are no longer regarded as suitable habitat and thought extremely unlikely to hold Glow Worms
  • Four figure grid references, refer to records from private gardens.
Site . Grid ref . Recorder/source . Notes
................................................. .. .. .. ............................................ .. ..
Buck Gates, Thoresby Estate   SK637691   Walker, M.   A single female recorded from this previously unknown site on 03/07/14.
Harlow Wood ... SK555565 ... King, J. & C. ... A previously unknown site within both Forestry Commission and private woodland. Highest count of 83 females here in early June 2017.
Budby . SK625692 . UK Glow Worm survey . A few recorded in 1929
Budby ... SK627690 ... UK Glow Worm survey ... Site (Stocks Wood) is same general area as the above location. Females were recorded from here in 1992.
Budby South Forest   SK624690   Pendleton, T.A. & D.T.   Single females (two) and a larva found away from a known Glow Worm site at nearby Swinecote Road, Budby in 2017. No Glow Worms previously reported from this Grid Ref, which was surveyed once in 2012. Location is now believed to be the same site listed as Budby, located at SK625692.
Swinecote Road, Budby ... SK627688   Pendleton, T.A. & D.T. ... Three females present at the junction of the A616 and the B6034 on 29/06/12 and four larvae found on 17/08/12. Site across A616 from above location. Population extends over B6034 on to Budby South Forest. This site is now believed to be the same site listed as Budby, located at SK627690.
Near Cuckney . SK605713 . UK Glow Worm survey . 1929 record. Grid ref centred on what is now cultivated land and unsuitable for Glow Worms.
Lambley . SK630457 . Pendleton, B. . Three females on roadside verge on Green Lane in 1944.
Carlton, Nottingham . SK610405 . UK Glow Worm survey . 1949 record. Now Greenwood Road and a housing estate.
Robin Hood Hills, near Annesley . SK512547 . UK Glow Worm survey . Large numbers present in 1968
Railway cutting near Gotham * . SK540294 . UK Glow Worm survey . Two females recorded in 1969. Site believed to be too overgrown and now unsuitable.
Hanger Hill Plantation ... SK601695 ... Lewis, N. ... Previously unknown site reported to us in early 2012. Glow Worms present and recorded here c1995, but none found when surveyed later in 2012.
Ruddington   SK561313   Smith, I.   A previously unknown site, discovered in 2020. This is the only current site for Glow Worms in south Nottinghamshire.
Colwick Woods ... SK602398 . UK Glow Worm survey . On railway bank between Colwick woods and racecourse, seen in most years up to 1970. Surveyed twice in 2012 and some areas now inaccessible. Site believed to be unsuitable.
Holme Pierrepont ... SK615384 ... UK Glow Worm survey ... An area of the A52 pit at Holme Pierrepont, which is strictly private. Glow Worms reported here in 1992, but none recorded in a thorough search in July 2016.
Kneeton ... SK697453 ... per Dale, M. ... Glow Worms reported from this site in 2008. This is a previously unkown location in the Trent Valley. M. Dale and P. Parry surveyed this area in June 2014, reporting that the site now seems unsuitable for Glow Worms.
Park Rd, Keyworth . SK616320 . UK Glow Worm survey . 1977 record. This site is now a housing estate and thought unlikely to be active now.
Oakmere Park, Oxton . SK612532 . UK Glow Worm survey . 1977 record. Negative results from a survey in 2012
Near Rainworth . SK6258 ... UK Glow Worm survey ... 1992 record from a private garden, east of Rainworth.
Fanny's Grove . SK610709 ... Statham, B. per NBGRC ... One female in 1995. None found during a brief survey on 29/06/12.
Newstead Abbey   SK540543   Gough, B.   Glow Worms reported from a (private) wooded garden here in 2010
Ravenshead . SK5656 ... UK Glow Worm survey ... 1992 record from a private garden
Clumber Park . SK616747 . McLeish, D. . Different grid ref centre for the same area of heathland
Clumber Park . SK618750 . Pendleton, T.A. & D.T. . Different grid ref centre for the same area of heathland. Approximate grid ref SK 61796 75022
Clumber Park . SK620740 . Moss, J.G. . Different grid ref centre for the same area of heathland.
Clumber Park . SK622732 . UK Glow Worm survey . Site listed as Bluebell Hill. Glow Worms reported in 1992.
Clumber Park . SK632755 . McLeish, D. . Counts of 40-50 regular from this area in the mid-1990's. A maximum of 25 in 2011
Clumber Park . SK642773 . Pendleton, T.A. & D.T. . Maximum of 13 at this location on 28/06/08. Approximate grid ref SK 64268 77295
Clumber Park ... SK649742 ... NBGRC per Sheila Wright ... On section of the Robin Hood Way. 15 females recorded in 1995, but Glow Worms recorded there 20 years previous.
Clumber Park ... SK614763 ... Michalek, L. ... Two females 90 metres apart on 17/07/12. A previously unknown Clumber Park site.
Clumber Park ... SK616732 ... Michalek, L. ... Single female found on 24/06/13. A previously unknown Clumber Park site.
Clumber Park ... SK619723 ... Michalek, L. ... Single female found on 24/06/13. A previously unknown Clumber Park site.
Clumber Park ... SK624732 ... Glendenning, J. ... Two females recorded here on 10/07/13. Previously unknown location within Clumber Park.
Clumber Park ... SK628755 ... Glendenning, J. ... Two females recorded here on 11/07/13. Previously unknown location within Clumber Park.
Clumber Park   SK616730   Michalek, L.   12 females recorded along woodland track, between SK615733 and SK617727 on 30/06/14
Clumber Park   SK614754   Michalek, L.   Three females found here on 08/06/14.
Clumber Park   SK629772   Michalek, L.   Glow Worms last recorded in this area of Clumber (Calloughton Wood) back in 2004. Very good numbers recorded in the 1980's.
Clumber Park   SK623773   Binding, A. and Binding, A.E.   Glow Worms recorded here in 1998
Clumber Park   SK609758   Harris, T.   Three females recorded from this location in 2016
Clumber Park   SK622762   Harris, T.   Over ten females present in 2016
Duncan Wood   SK614715   Harris, T.   A previously unreported site. Glow Worms recorded from this location post 2010.
Worksop Road ... SK635684 ... Bull, A. per NBGRC ... Part of the Birklands West and Ollerton Corner SSSI. Recorded c1995. Site still active, with a single female found on 26/06/12. Approximate grid ref SK 63536 68421
Thoresby Estate ... SK642686 ... Bull, A. per NBGRC ... Site (Stilehollow Plantation) on strictly private land
Thoresby Estate ... SK641735 ... NBGRC ... Site on strictly private land
Near Edwinstowe ... SK620653 ... Lewis, N. per NBGRC ... Several seen in 1995
Greenacres ... SK627591 ... UK Glow Worm survey ... Old farm track in agricultural land, situated just north of junction of A614 and A617
Near Farnsfield ... SK630550 ... UK Glow Worm survey ... 1992 record from Rob Lane. This site was most recently surveyed in 2017, but no Glow Worms were found, despite the habitat looking suitable.
Stapleford Moor, Newark . SK856586 . Smith, G. . 15 females in ditch on 14/07/90. The most easterly and isolated Nottinghamshire record.
Thoresby Park, . SK630710 . Worrall, L. and Worrall, G. . Grid ref is now Thoresby Market car park area. Site possibly now unsuitable.
New Lodge Plantation . SK605661 . Various sources. . Good numbers known from this private site. Reported in 1995 and recent reports from 2014 and 2016 (single female).
Mansfield Woodhouse . SK555644 . UK Glow Worm survey . Agricultural land near Marples Avenue. Record listed as 1992.
Nomanshill Wood . SK540560 . Cropper, M. . Glow Worms reported from this site, but no recent records..
Lady Lea Quarry, Worksop . SK562794 . NBGRC . Glow Worms reported as being present at this site by the county recorder, but no futher details.
Sherwood Pines   SK616601   Dale, M. Kulpa, A. and Michalek, L.   Previously unknown site. 25 females found here in 2018.
Sherwood Pines ... SK608619 ... Forestry Commission . Females reported at this site by Birklands Ringing Group in 2003
Sherwood Pines . SK613616 . Forestry Commission . Reported. Possibly refers to same Clipstone Forest site as below.
Sherwood Pines . SK614605 . Forestry Commission . Historical site with Glow Worms still present. One female reported from this location in 2011.
Sherwood Pines . SK622606 . Forestry Commission . Females reported at this site by Birklands Ringing Group in 2003
Sherwood Pines ... SK619603 ... Lowe, A. ... Between 3 and 5 females noted in July 2013
Sherwood Pines ... SK619605 ... Lowe, A. ... One female noted on two dates in July 2013
Sherwood Pines ... SK620608 ... Lowe, A. ... Between 5 and 11 females noted on several dates in July 2013
Blyth ... SK6286 ... UK Glow Worm survey ... 1992 record, presumed to be from a Blyth garden.
Clipstone Old Quarter . SK606670 . Pendleton, T.A. & D.T. . Recent site maxima of between 85 females on 08/06/09 and 101 females on 29/05/14. A large spread out colony showing signs of becoming fragmented, with a grid ref centred at SK 60642 66942.
Clipstone Old Quarter   SK601666   Pendleton, T.A. & D.T.   Two females present in 2017, centred at this grid ref. This location effectively links the two locations given below, with the large population at C.lipstone Old Quarter. A single larva recorded here in 2016
Bradmer Hill   SK598665   Pendleton, T.A. & D.T.   Previously unknown site. One female found on grass in middle of small path running along edge of woodland, bordering arable fields on 03/07/14.
Near Peafield Lane   SK601664   Pendleton, T.A. & D.T.   Single female found at this location in 2016. Location close to the population at nearby Clipstone Old Quarter.
Sherwood Heath . SK647675 . Pendleton, T.A. & D.T. . Site maxima of 207 females on 27/06/08 and 212 females on 04/07/08 and 29 females on 25/06/09. Very small numbers of females since, singles in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Sherwood Forest CP . SK613684 . Pendleton, T.A. & D.T. . Single females on two dates only in 2009. One female recorded from this site in 2012 and three in 2013. Approximate grid ref SK 61344 68223.
Sherwood Forest CP ... SK611676 ... Lowe, A. ... A previously unknown site, adjacent to large Glow Worm colony at Clipstone Old Quarter. Five females present on 02/07/13.
Ransom Wood   SK5759   Cannon, C.   A female reported from this private site in 2015.
Old literature suggests that Glow Worms were very often recorded on roadside verges along country lanes and colonies in this habitat have probably been affected more than most. The onset of mechanical verge maintainence, road salt spreading and insecticidal spray drift from modern agricultural mechanisation and practices, must all have had serious consequences on Glow Worm populations in this habitat. Glow Worm colonies in more extensive habitats, such as forestry plantations, mature woodland and heathland, all seem to have done better, despite some intensive commercial forestry.


Our modern knowledge of the Glow Worm's Nottinghamshire status, is still too restricted to give an accurate representation here. The only sites providing records since 2000 are Sherwood Forest, Clumber Park and Clipstone Forest. Instead, this page purely provides easy access to the records we know of. It is still very useful as a guide to where to start surveying for old sites, which may well remain. Alternatively, there are many potentially suitable sites across the county that could well hold new colonies awaiting discovery.

Interestingly, only one colony we know of, is actually on a Nottinghamshire nature reserve. But on a reserve or not, the Glow Worm is presently offered no protection status at all, although many landowners will often be willing to take some measures to protect colonies known to be on their land. The same cannot always be said though for some conservation bodies, who seem to have a lack of consideration for a species regarded as still being nationally common, yet which may actually be in such severe national decline, that they may well be forced into taking measures to protect it in another 10 or 20 years time!

The Nottinghamshire Glow Worm Survey 2018

The Nottinghamshire Glow Worm Survey is still an ongoing project. If you would like to help and join in the survey, please contact us by clicking the banner below for more information. Or if you know of any Nottinghamshire sites, simply send any records you already have directly to us.