Welcome to the ESB!

The Earthworm Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (ESB) aims to promote and support scientific research so that earthworms and their environment can be better understood. Through its work the society aims to encourage the conservation of earthworms and their habitats and to educate and inspire people so that these fascinating creatures may continue to be enjoyed in the future.

Earthworm ID course - AIDGAP key launch

ID course participants examine worms
I vividly remember as a child picking up earthworms, marveling at woodlice and exploring the dirt! I was always fascinated by the miniscule creatures in my garden. It is therefore no surprise to me as an adult I champion earthworms and other ‘small things that run the world’. I love invertebrates and personally feel humans take the presence of ‘bugs’ or ‘creepy crawlies’ as they burrow, crawl, buzz, fly, raft and swim for granted. Invertebrates make up 97% of all life on Earth and to me insects, crustaceans and other marine creatures are just as beautiful and should command our respect.


Anthony Roach

Go Wild For Worms

Go Wild For Worms

This year Wild About Gardens is going wild about worms! These wriggly fellows are well known to gardeners all over. At first glance they might not seem particularly special, but they’re essential for our soils and wildlife. There are no less than 29 earthworm species in the UK and each one has an integral role in our ecosystem. It's time to take action for the worms in your garden!

Earthworm Recorder's Handbook

Earthworm Recorder's Handbook

The NERS Earthworm Recorder's Handbook was produced by the Earthworm Society of Britain to support existing and new earthworm recorders.

The handbook combines previous ESB guidance with new content and covers topics such as earthworm sampling techniques, earthworm preservation, recordng earthworms and identifying earthworms.

This publication is currently available as a free-to-download resource as the ESB plans to update the document on a regular basis.

*The current version available for download was last updated on 19th March 2018.

Attachment Size
NERS Earthworm Recorder's Handbook.pdf 4.05 MB

Digging into the world of earthworm research

Dr Frank Ashwood
The UK has a strong history of earthworm research, with Charles Darwin leading the charge back in the late nineteenth century. Darwin’s last scientific book was all about earthworms and detailed a lifetime of earthworm research, including playing them piano music! Things have come some way since then, and the humble earthworm is now globally recognised as an “ecosystem engineer”...


Frank Ashwood

FSC BioLinks project announced

FSC BioLinks logo

The Field Studies Council have secured a £1.23 million The National Lottery grant through the Heritage Lottery Fund to fund invertebrate identification training and recording events across the West Midlands and South East England.

The project will include training courses covering beetles, true flies, aculeate hymentoptera, molluscs, freshwater invertebrates, true bugs, arachnids and (most importantly) soil invertebrates.

Earthworm Identification (2-day course)


Oxford Island National Nature Reserve, Northern Ireland


CEDaR logo

Earthworms are crucial for soil health, but we know relatively little about their distributions, population sizes and impacts from land management and invading species. This two-day course will look at sampling techniques, identification and ecology of earthworms. It is aimed at supporting and encouraging recording so we can establish a better picture of this species group in Ireland.