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Sunday, 11 October 2015


I have never seen a glow-worm larvae before, but here is a photo taken in Borrowdale in the Lake district a few days ago in the company of Ancient Tree Forum members. We were visiting the Borrowdale Yew trees, the 'Fraternal Four' made famous by Wordsworth, although the fourth blew down many years ago and is now rotting on the ground.

The remaining Yews have been dated to at least 1,500 years old and Keith Alexander the National Coleoptera recorder found this Glow-Worm larvae on a section of rotting bark.

We also looked at many of the ancient Ash pollards dotted about the landscape, most of which are many hundreds of years old and were the working trees for generations of people. The National Trust continues the essential pollarding of these on a regular cycle and hope that Ash disease will not destroy them all. Pollarding, done correctly, does not kill trees but prolongs their life span way beyond the natural life cycle. A truly sustainable practice that benefits people and wildlife and creates a historic landscape.

                                            Glow-Worm larvae


                                        Borrowdale Yew tree


Dave Sutcliffe said...

That's a very interesting posting Philip - thanks. Must go and take a look at the Yews sometime.

Philip said...

Well worth a visit Dave. Recent genetic testing says all 3 surviving Yew trees are from the same rootstock. Who knows how old they are. Trees can walk across the landscape by layering a low branch which then creates a 'new' tree. Same with Limes in the Lake District where some are estimated to be thousands of years old. We look at things in too small a timescale to appreciate.

Steve Blacksmith said...

Agreeing with Dave - very interesting Philip.
Old trees are amazing.

We do have glow worms in Yorkshire, but I've not heard of them in Calderdale.
I was once shown one glowing dimly with its cold phosphorescent light in woodland further east - one of the Yorkshire wildlife Trust Reserves; Skipwith Common I think.We were told it was an adult female, aiming to attract a male.

I think the larvae glow as well, for what reason I can't imagine.

Ros berrington said...

Hi Philip,
bet that was enjoyable.I would love to go on a field trip with Keith Alexander!Would love to see the trees in their own right as well as their connection to Wordsworth.