A glow worm safari

A glow worm safari

Glow worm by Wendy Carter

Join Julia on a glow worm safari on the Malvern Hills...

You won’t find many of the ‘big five’ animals on safari in Worcestershire but our local wildlife is just as enchanting – and right on our doorstep.

Which is why, on a clear night early in July, as daylight was fading but the moon was bright, my husband and I set off on a hunt for glow worms. It’s easiest to see them when the sky is dark but as they only glow for a couple of weeks around midsummer, we took our chances.

We had seen a few glow worms nine years ago when we first moved to Worcestershire but none since. Our target area was a path down an old track that is now a wide grassy ride, lined with trees. We crept forward along the path, as quietly as we could. As I scanned the grass each side of the path, I kept seeing flashes of light as the moonlight reflected off the frames of my glasses. Each time, I felt a jolt of excitement, followed by disappointment when I realised what I was seeing. I had to remind myself that our glow worms glow continuously; they don’t flash like fireflies.

As we approached the end of the track, we were a little dejected. Maybe we weren’t going to see any tonight after all.

We turned and immediately saw what we had missed walking in the other direction – a bright green glow close to the ground, just a few centimetres off the path. Two segments of the glow worm’s body were glowing brightly, lighting up the grass around her.

I was captivated; all I wanted to do was sit down and drink in the view. But we didn’t want to disturb her or her potential mates, so we retreated after a couple of minutes and headed for home, hopeful now that we would see another.

And we did! This one was further from the path but seemed to be glowing brighter. We gazed in wonder for a few minutes before quietly walking back across the fields, both of us lost in thought.

What a wonderful way to spend a summer’s evening.

Female glow worm at the top of a grass stem - glowing segments are visible - by Wendy Carter

Glow worm by Wendy Carter

Julia Goodfellow-Smith is an adventure writer and speaker with a passion for wildlife. She lives in Malvern and when she’s at home she likes nothing more than spotting wildlife on the hills and in the surrounding area.