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Glow-Worm Hunt, Hambledon Hill

Hambledon Hill

To the north of Blandford is the Hambledon Hill National Nature Reserve (ST 845 125). Managed by English Nature, this 192m high chalk hill is a prominent feature – its summit sculpted with concentric banks and ditches – the remains of an Iron Age hillfort. Near its highest point a Neolithic long barrow, some 5000 years old. The sketch to the right shows the present day arrangement of the two major banks that – with ditch between – made up the main defences of the hillfort.

The chalk slopes of the hill are ideal for Glow-Worms. Glow-Worms (Lampyris noctiluca) are not worms, they are actually insects. All stages of this beetle give out light, but it is brightest in the adult female when she is attracting a mate. The light is produced by a chemical reaction and can be switched on and off at will. Although only small (about 2–3mm) the little bead of blue-ish green light can be seen from many tens of metres in dark conditions.

This gallery shows a field trip in late July led by the English Nature site manager, on which some 75 people – in age from 1 to 60+ yrs old – up the hill from Child Okeford (ST 836 126) to watch the sun set and then 'hunt' for the beetle. The warm, still conditions of the evening were particularly favourable, with glowing females seen over large areas of the hill.

079-01 Glow-Worm Hunt, Hambledon Hill 079-02 Glow-Worm Hunt, Hambledon Hill 079-03 Glow-Worm Hunt, Hambledon Hill 079-04 Glow-Worm Hunt, Hambledon Hill 079-05 Glow-Worm Hunt, Hambledon Hill
079-06 Glow-Worm Hunt, Hambledon Hill 079-07 Glow-Worm Hunt, Hambledon Hill 079-08 Glow-Worm Hunt, Hambledon Hill 079-09 Glow-Worm Hunt, Hambledon Hill 079-10 Glow-Worm Hunt, Hambledon Hill
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Nearby locations that also feature in galleries on this site:


directionHod Hill - Iron Age hillfort and Roman camp, Blandford Forum

Other sites on the web

The UK Glow worm survey home page:  site maintained by Robin Scagell, containing background information about Lampyris noctiluca, pictures and numerous links.

English Nature:  site giving an overview of the work and function of the organisation, with contact details for the Dorset Team.

The Coleopterist:  journal for students of the beetle fauna of the British Isles, includes daylight images of male glow-worm and larva.

Dorset Wildlife Trust:  site with details of field trips, events and talks at other nature reserves throughout the county.

UK Safari:  Glow-worms - part of a much larger site covering UK wildlife with monthly guides to what is out and about across the country, includes request for sightings reports.

Maps of the area on streetmap.co.uk:   1:50,000 – detail, 1:250,000 – locality and route to get there

picture resolution
The pictures of Glow-Worm Hunt, Hambledon Hill in this gallery were captured at medium resolution.
This is images of dorset stock photography gallery 079
All photographs copyright © 1998–2003 John Allen

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