Glow worm sites in and around Buckinghamshire

A. Records published by Anthony Wootton (Country-Side 1971, 21 456-463 and 572-574, and XXII, No 6, Spring 1974, 266-271.) NB: Comments such as ‘10 years ago’ here refer from 1970s.

Great Missenden, railway embankment (SP 80/00), 1970.
Station House, Swanbourne, nr Winslow, on railway track (SP 800293)  June/July 1967.
Wendover, in garden of 'Boswells' (SP 80/00), reported in large numbers some 30 years ago but never seen by recorder.
Hawridge Common, nr Cholesbury (c SP 94/06). June/July 1970, July 1971.
High Heavens Wood, nr Marlow  (cSU 83/89), 1960. [Also 1966].
In valley W of Jennings Farm, off the B473, nr Beaconsfield (SU90/80), large numbers seen c. 40 years ago.
Nr Chilton (c SP 705115), along railway line c. 3 years ago (from 1974).
Nr Halton  (SP 877076), small colony in scrubland, 1960.
Chartridge (SP 943036 and 948034), several, summer 1972.
Seer Green, a few on path to station in 1940s.
Pump Lane, Little Marlow (SU 861883), in garden and in grass beneath birches, July 1971 and previous years.
Nr Hughenden Manor (SU 861956), several, 1971-72.
Nr Stony Green (SU 866992), c. 12 by trail towards woods, 1972.
Flackwell Heath Golf Course, summer 1972. (See note below)
Fawley Bottom, Stonor Valley, nr Henley, c. 6 in garden, none now (in 1974).
Flower's Bottom, between Speen and Lacey Green, fairly common by lanes up to 1953, when observer left district.

Other reports from County Records Office:

Cadsden 1974
Millfield Wood, Hughenden Valley, SU 870955. 1974.
Cadsden. SP 823047. 1975.
Coombe Hill, Wendover, 1976.
Whiteleaf. 1977.
Concord Woods Nr Wendover. 1976.
Radnage, 1977
West Wycombe. 'recent' (date not given)
Windsor Hill - Parslows Hillock, June 1972.
Chesham, Berkeley Ave; 1 in garden 2 Jul 1973
Chesham, by boundary wall of the Bury, alongside Lowndes Park, 1.8.73.
Bryants Bottom (SP 8599) about 1/2 mile S of public house, Jul 73.
Cryers Hill, c. 1970
Chesham Vale, field W side of Francis Wood, and E side of Vale Rd, 5-9.7.74, also 2.7.76.
Little Hampden, Church Lane. Large numbers c.1942.
Aston Hill, The Chalet 29.6.76
Saunderton, Slough Hill (SU 81/98), old footpath, 1975. (Mrs Welsberg, Lodge Hill View, Haw Lane).
Wendover, The Bend House, Ellesborough Road. Jul 1977.
Wooburn Moor: Mrs Clements, Clementine House, London Road, Jul 77.
Chesham, Ley Hill, Cowcroft brickpits (SP986018), 8.8.77. (See note below)
Flackwell Heath, 8 Northernwoods. Mrs Matthews. For 4-5 weeks up to 26.10.77. [Probably larvae - RS]
Coombe Hill, 1977.
Whiteleaf, Brambledean, Jul 77.
Princes Risborough. ‘Just after dusk, a small colony on steep grass (dry) bank at the side of the road over Chiltern
  escarpment. Between the “Pink and Lily” public house near Parslows Hillock and Brimmers Farm.  Some 250 yards
  down the hill at the right hand side of the road (below) a footpath across a conifer plantation.’ 1967.
Gt Missenden. ‘Several in the garden of Springfield Cottage, Denner Hill. I think if you walked any of the footpaths leading
  from Bryants Bottom to Denner Hill during July and August after dark you could do the same.’ 1977.
Ivinghoe Beacon and Hale Hill. Jul 78.
Grangelands Reserve (SP 827049), 87 counted on a grass bank, 24.7.80.
Chesham, Lower Pednor 4.7.82
Weston Turville 5.10.79
Bryants Bottom, bank half way between crossroad (Hampden) Hatches Lane and pub The Gate (?) SP 852999. Two seen last year
  (1982), earlier 5 or 6 in Warrendene Road
Park Wood SU 823987 1969-70
Windsor Hill SP 826029 1971, June 1972
Buttler’s Hangings (SU 819961), 1979 [Also seen in 1990s -- RS]
Dancer’s End (SP 902096) 23.10.80
Swain’s Wood (SU 739920) 1983
Pitstone Fen (SP 942142)

B: More recent reports made by Robin Scagell:
Turville SU 765916 - approx 6, August 1990.
Grangelands. SP 829054. Over 50f 2m. Most on meadow N facing. About 8 on W facing down. 1.7.91.
Loudwater, 3.7.91, 11-11.30 pm. Rly line at Gomm Rd bridge. SU89359185.  3f on ballast and conduit
Flackwell Heath, 17.7.91, 11.00-12.00 pm. Sheepridge Lane 3f. [See note below]
Flackwell Heath Golf Course: 4f widely scattered on slopes, inc 1 near bright lights overlooking industrial area.

Other reports sent to Robin Scagell:
Marlow, Homefield Wood, 1991
Bledlow Ridge, 1, 1991.
Longdown Hill (SU 835047), 3, 1991.
Hughenden Valley, 2, 1991
Spade Oak, Bourne End, (SU 883873), 1991
Princes Risborough, Windsor Hill (SP 826027), 1991.


A letter in response to the BBC Natural History Programme appeal said that Disraeli used to see glow worms at Hughenden Manor.

Notes added 2001, updated 2010:
Beacon Hill at Aston Rowant is a site which I have visited repeatedly. One one memorable night in 1994 there were upwards of 250 females glowing on the hill above the M40. The next night I returned with camera and tripod – and there were only eight! A cold snap may have discouraged them. Numbers never recovered. In recent years, numbers have been much lower than previously.

I have also revisited Sheepridge Lane in Flackwell Heath many times and numbers were consistent year after year at around 20 to 25 at the height of the season until 2003, when the population plummeted, possibly because of drought. I also receive regular reports from the occupier of a house in Blind Lane, Bourne End, where very few glow worms have been seen since 2003. The glow worms persist on the golf course in small numbers despite the bright lights from the industrial estate below.

I found a couple of glow worms at the Cowcroft site at Ley Hill a few years ago.

The Spade Oak site still has glow worms, along with the south side of the neighbouring gravel pits (2010).