Welcome to Dorset Allsorts

We'll be posting a variety of facts and photos of whatever takes our fancy as we wander around Dorset. They may be of churches, buildings, visitor attractions or natural scenes – in fact there will be all sorts! We hope they will give you a glimpse of some of the sights this beautiful county has to offer.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Abbotsbury Swannery

On a recent walk near Abbotsbury, we paid a visit to the Swannery which is a popular tourist attraction in Dorset.  It is the only place in the world where you are able to walk through the heart of a colony of nesting Mute Swans.   
This unique wildlife habitat is based on the Fleet lagoon near Chesil Beach, and attracts over 300 differents species of waterfowl besides the swans. 

At this time of year, only about a third of the swans are still remaining on the lagoon - the rest have already departed for the winter.  We will try to visit again in the early summer when all the cygnets are hatching. 

The Swannery was established by Benedictine Monks who built a monastery at Abbotsbury during the 1040's.  The monks farmed the swans to produce food for their lavish Dorset banquets (although we've been reliably informed swan meat is an acquired taste!). 

Although the swans feed extensively in the lagoon, they are also fed twice a day at the Swannery, and visitors are encouraged to give a hand.  As you can see from the photos, some of the swans have found out the quickest way to get to the source of the food!
Karen getting stuck into the feeding!
We were interested to see that the famous ballerina, Anna Pavlova, visited the Swannery in the late 1920s with members of her corps de ballet, as they were preparing for a performance of Swan Lake.  The swans look a bit bemused by all the strange activity!

And finally....some of the less exotic birdlife we spotted at the Swannery!

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