A Walk With Swans

Somewhere along the Jurassic Coastline of Dorset lies a shallow, salty body of water called Fleet Lagoon. Sheltered by Lyme Bay at Chesil Beach, it provides an ideal nesting ground for the world’s only managed colony of Mute Swans.

In the 1040s, Benedictine Monks built a monastery and formed the Swannery to farm swans for their banquets.   The monastery was destroyed during King Henry VIII’s reign in 1539 and since the 1540s, the Swannery Sanctuary has been under the stewardship of the Ilchester Estates.

View of the Fleet Lagoon, Abbotsbury Swannery (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

View of the Fleet Lagoon, Abbotsbury Swannery
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Today, 600 swans are visited each year from March to November at what is now known  as Abbotsbury Swannery.

During one of our visits to England from our then home in California,  it was my delight to spend a day at Abbotsbury Swannery with my children and their granny one glorious June day. I hauled around a now archaic camcorder (the kind that held a full size video cassette), thrilled to capture the hatching of a cygnet on film.

Many years have passed since that day, but last Saturday hubby and I took a drive to the countryside of Dorset and decided on the spur of the moment to visit the Swannery on what turned out to be its last opening day until next March.

On the way, driving through the heart of this historic and beautiful county, we took a quick pit-stop to admire the iconic Hardy Monument looming high into the late autumn sky above the village of Portesham.

Hardy's Monument  (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Hardy’ Monument
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

This monument was built in 1944 in honour of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, Flag Captain of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.  It was Hardy who held Lord Nelson in his arms as he was dying, while saying the immortal words, ‘Kiss me Hardy’.

Today the National Trust owns the monument, but according to its website it is currently closed to visitors due to parking problems.  However, the day we pulled off the narrow, winding road for me to take this shot, we saw more than one group of ramblers hiking their way towards it.  One cheeky rambler had the temerity to tell me that I  ‘cheating’ by driving and not walking. I’ll remember that next time, thanks Mr. Rambler.

Parking is free at the Swannery but the cost of admission isn’t cheap: £10.95 for adults, but cheaper if booked online.  However, since it is dedicated to the preservation of this priceless colony of Mute Swans, we felt it was well worth it.

As we entered, the first thing I got was a shock as a black hooded apparition jumped out at me.  Who was this stranger lurking in the herb garden?  A cardboard cutout of a man dressed up as a monk as it turned out, but it did give me a fright, much to hubby’s amusement.

Monk's Herb Garden, Abbotsbury Swannery (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Monk’s Herb Garden, Abbotsbury Swannery
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Heading down the path, we came across a ‘Bug Hotel’, the remnants of a felled tree that came down in the storms last winter and which is now a natural habitat for a variety of insects in which to hibernate and breed.

The Swannery was badly damaged during last winter’s storms with awful flooding that assailed the Dorset coastline, but they have done a wonderful job of repairing the damage.  Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again this year.

Storm damage at the Swannery in February 2014 (c) Sherri Matthews

Storm damage at the Swannery in February 2014
(c) Sherri Matthews

Then we saw our first swan and a ‘teenage’ cygnet…

Abbotsbury Nov 2014 (30)

Magnificent Swan (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Abbotsbury Nov 2014 (31)

(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Mother & Cygnet (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Mother & Teenage Cygnet
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

By the end of October, some of the swans move off-site for the winter months but there were still many left for us to see on this November day.  The pathways had overflowed with nesting swans when I had visited years before at the height of hatching season. Apart from a few ruffled feathers and cross hisses from the male swans, it was remarkable that they had been so accommodating as visitors walked among them.

No nesting swans at this time of year though, and the paths were easy to navigate, yet incredibly, we did see one pair guarding what looked like the remnants of an old nest just off the path…

(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

…while another pair enjoyed an afternoon nap.

Sleeping Swans  (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Sleeping Swans
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Then, at last, the beautiful lagoon opened up before us…

At this time of year as some of the swans migrate, other visitors drop in to say hello:

The Swannery also provides shelter for orphaned and injured swans, releasing them as they hopefully recover.  In return, resident swans make sure to obey the rules…

Keep On The Path (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Keep On The Path
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Not only a peaceful and invigorating walk along the path through this sanctuary, the Swannery offers spectacular views of the surrounding Dorset countryside…

Views of Lyme Bay (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Views of Fleet Lagoon
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

The reeds provide nesting material for the swans.

Fleet Lagoon and Dorset countryside (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Fleet Lagoon and Dorset countryside
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

As we turned away from the lagoon and back along the path, it was obvious that swans are not the only birds catered to, as can be seen from this owl nesting box:

Just before the exit there is a display of the kind of boats once used for hunting and fishing on the lagoon:

(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

There is also a display for those interested in WWII history about the Bouncing Bomb that Barnes Wallis tested on the lagoon in March, 1943:

For those who might want a play at the end of their visit, there is opportunity to take a spin on the pedal go-karts:

Pedal Go-Karts (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Pedal Go-Karts
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

The Swannery was quiet on this early November afternoon. After the unseasonably mild October, the breeze whipping up from the lagoon had a bite to it, giving warning of the winter yet to come.

But the sun wasn’t ready to put its hat away just yet.

Path at Abbotsbury Swannery, Dorset (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Path at Abbotsbury Swannery, Dorset
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

As shadows grew longer and the sun bathed all in day’s end burst of warming glow, we said our goodbyes to the swans. Not only their peaceful sanctuary, but also a place of tranquility and welcome respite for us, as fresh as the salt-air that filled our lungs.

Abbotsbury Swannery (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Abbotsbury Swannery
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

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For beautiful walks from all parts of this wonderful world of ours, Jo invites us to join her for her weekly Monday Walk and will be delighted to take you along.

walking-logoIf beautiful photos of all creatures great and small bring you smiles galore, then Michelle is just as delighted to welcome your entry over at her Weekly Pet Challenge.

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About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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120 Responses to A Walk With Swans

  1. reocochran says:

    This was a fantastic, wonderful feast for my eyes, Sherri. I enjoyed the history and somewhat sad story of the original reason what became of the monastery. I was so glad it serves now as a preserve for swans and their families. I was happy for this great ending of the story. I would have been startled by this slightly scary, haunting image of a monk!

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    • Sherri says:

      Sadly, old King Henry has a lot to answer for in the destruction of these beautiful monasteries during the dissolution. There is still a part of this monastery visible from the nearby village but I wasn’t able to get a photograph of it from the road unfortunately. Next time I would like to explore the village and find out more about it’s history. Love that stuff! But yes, how wonderful that in all these centuries the Swannery has continued to provide sanctuary for this beautiful colony. Yes, haha, that monk really made me jump! Thanks so much Robin, it was lovely to have you along for this walk 🙂

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  2. sknicholls says:

    Just gorgeous, the swans and the countryside. Your writing is beautiful also. That was a delightful tour. There is so much of Europe I would love to see in real life…in the meanwhile, I am content to read such lovely posts.

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh thanks so much SK, so glad you enjoyed the tour 🙂 This particular place holds many happy memories for me and it is my delight to be able to share it here 🙂

      Like

  3. That’s awesome, so many swans in one place! I’m glad we don’t eat swans anymore, although they must have been a boon for those monks when food was often scarce: so much meat on each bird, probably meant that just one must have sustained quite a few men.

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  4. Pat says:

    This is beautiful, Sherri. So grateful for those who provide and care for the swans and other birds. It looks to be a peaceful place — their sanctuary. I’m glad you took us along on what looked to be a glorious day. 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Pat, delighted to share the walk with you: so glad you enjoyed the peace and quiet that the tranquil beauty of the Swannery offers. It truly was glorious, the kind of early winter’s day that sends the senses into overload, but in a good way 🙂

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      • Pat says:

        You’re welcome, Sherri, I can see that — beautiful tranquil. There looks to be a lot of places like these in your part of the world. I’m happy you share them with us. 🙂

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      • Sherri says:

        I’m thrilled to be able to do so Pat…as you do from your beautiful home, a place I would love to visit one day 🙂 Have a lovely weekend my friend 🙂

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  5. What a wonderful post, Sherri. It was so beautiful and relaxing to read. I’m glad you got to see all of the swans again.

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    • Sherri says:

      I’m so glad you found it so peaceful and relaxing Bev, thank you so much. It was wonderful to visit the Swannery again after so many years and at such a different time of year too. It’s lovely to see the hatching cygnets in the summer but it gets very crowded as you can imagine: this time, it was so quiet, beautifully atmospheric for an early winter’s day 🙂

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  6. Oh my friend this truly was a beautiful post with wonderful photos. Once again I felt I was there to savor the tranquillity and beauty of the sanctuary. What a great start to my weekend. Thank you lovely writer!! ❤

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    • Sherri says:

      I’m thrilled to share the Swannery with you my friend and take you along with me on this walk at what is our favourite time of year 🙂 I may have shown you the video of the hatching cygnets all those years ago – note to self, ‘must get all those family videos put on DVD’ 😮 I re-read this post this morning and was slightly mortified to see one or two glaring errors in my writing, darn it, hate it when that happens (hope nobody else noticed…). Strange, I couldn’t get J out of my mind as I wrote it, so many memories of our times spent together in those years with the kids during our trips back here and in the Dorset area. Then not an hour after posting this I got the news of his passing. I feel like this post was for him. Much love and blessings to you Diane ❤ xoxo

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  7. What breathtaking views of the swans, and so many, Sounds like you have a wonderful day with hubby and camera. Your photos are excellent. Feels like came along just behind you. ❤

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  8. There is nothing quite like an outing in a beautiful and interesting spot with someone you love! This day had it all in spades, thank you for taking me along with you!

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  9. Denise says:

    thank you, this is so lovely! The autumn light and wetness… but I was particularly taken by the big cygnet and it reminded me what an apposite parable The Ugly Duckling was – how we sometimes do feel big and awkward and out of places as teenagers.

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thanks so much Denise, glad you enjoyed the walk 🙂 And yes, The Ugly Duckling. I thought of that too. It amazes me how, as with this ‘teenage’ cygnet, although almost as big as its parent, it is still has so many changes to go through before maturity and becoming the truly beautiful swan it is destined to become 😉

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  10. I’ve never seen a swan in person! They are so beautiful. 🙂 Looks like it was a fun trip.

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    • Sherri says:

      No swans Patsy? Well, I’m thrilled to share these photos of some here for you now 🙂 Mind you, they can be dodgy if you get too close, not unknown to attack and bite. But in the colony they are so used to visitors and everyone keeps a healthy distance! I never fail to be in awe of their beauty and elegance. No wonder ‘Swan Lake’ is so loved 🙂 It was a lovely day out, just what we needed, and I’m thrilled to share it with you, thank you Patsy 🙂

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  11. Sherri, this is an extraordinary post of wonderful pictures, fascinating history details, and personal memories.
    In my hometown in southeast Kansas, where a swath of the Ozarks cuts through with lakes and hills and woods, in a nearby park with 5 big ponds, the ducks and geese and swans staked out the second pond and made their homes under the bridges. Then a decade ago, the geese disappeared, and the swans and remaining ducks began to mutate. It was the theme of horror stories, with warped beaks and discolored webbings and crooked necks. I didn’t discover it until I took my parents for a drive through the park and we carried along bread to feed the ducks. When they crept out from under the bridges, making a weird barking sound instead of honking, we tossed the bread in and left. Later we learned it was from the chemicals used to kill s fungus that was overtaking the ponds.
    Now see the things your posts make me remember? 😉

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thank you so much Marylin, I’m delighted to share such a beautiful, historic and thoroughly interesting place with you (although, I noticed some errors in my writing this morning, which really annoys me – that’s what comes of rushing to get a post out…but no excuses 😦 ) Moving on…and firstly, I had to Google Ozarks, so I’ve learnt something new about a part of your home state and it’s beautiful landscape but secondly, horrified to learn of such a wildlife horror story taking place in such natural beauty. I wonder if the geese knew something the ducks and swans didn’t? That must have been surreal for you and your parents to hear those sounds and witness those poor mutant birds. Now I’m worried about what happened to them…I hope that chemical wasn’t used again. And now you remind me of another horror story which took place on these shores in the 70’s. The farmers, in a bid to rid their land and fields of crop-destroying rabbits and their ever-increasing population, introduced a disease called myxematosis (myxe for short). I remember as a girl coming across rabbits sitting quietly in the middle of a road, on the edge of a field, in full view on our driveway, not running away as you would expect them to do. Creeping up to the rabbit the first time this happened, I was horrified to see that its eyes had been eaten away and later learnt that this was due to the myxe. It went on for many years. So to know that places like this sanctuary exist really does make the heart sing doesn’t it? 🙂

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  12. Yolanda M. says:

    Wonderful post Sherri! Swans are magnificent but I admit I am as wary of them as I am of geese. I have found the few I have met to be bad tempered. Lovely countryside – love those paths! As I am a passionate rambler myself those kind of pics make my feet itch 😀 ps. That cut-out is super creepy!

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Yolanda, delighted to share this walk with you and yes, I know what you mean, I am rather fond of a good ramble myself and said to hubby that we must return with our walking boots on 🙂 Same with paths, I love paths and taking photographs of them, they just beg to be walked along,always with the wonder of what awaits at the other end…and as for geese and swans, yes, they can definitely attack and give a nasty bite too. I’m afraid of geese having been chased by a herd once and swans can be aggressive when protecting their families. That’s why it amazes me that at this sanctuary, they don’t attack the visitors who walk among them in the summer months. They must be used to it after so many centuries of living there and so a tolerance has prevailed. But I would never dream of walking so close to a swan’s nest in the wild. I’ve heard of people getting their arms broken by a swan in attack mode. Haha…yes, very creepy indeed 😀

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  13. Wow. This is stunning. Thanks for taking us on this tour with you. The photos are amazing as is the history. I peeked at the Abbotsbury Swannery — awesome. So glad you got back there (without your clunky recorder — I remember those). O_o

    I’m still giggling about the cardboard monk. I would have had some sort of attack. (I’m easily startled.)

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh so thrilled to know how much you enjoyed this tour Sarah, thanks so much for coming along 🙂 It was one of those out-of-the-blue outings, no planning, just found ourselves there and so often they can be the best times can’t they? Haha…yes, thank goodness no more of the clunky recorder (but I have so many family videos…must convert to DVD 😛 ). Haha…yes, that monk had me jump out of my skin, I thought it was some weirdo lurking there and couldn’t think for the life of me exactly why…in a swan sanctuary of all places 😀 You would have definitely been startled, putting it mildly 😮

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  14. What a wonderful walk, Sherri. You must have been really excited to see so many beautiful swans along the way. That monk presiding over the herb garden would have given me a scare too. I guess he was there to deter anyone from pinching the herbs, although they do look a bit thin on the ground at this time of year. 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…yes, that monk did a good job of guarding the herbs as I’m sure nobody wanted to go near them after having a good scare like that! I’m lucky I didn’t drop my phone (all pics taken on it, left my camera at home, typical o_O ). So glad you enjoyed the walk Sylvia, thank you for coming along, it really is beautiful there and it was lovely to return after so many years 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Sherri this looks like an amazing place, beautiful photos of the lagoon. I love the one of the two swans sleeping and the swan that’s sticking to the rules 🙂 I never tire of seeing swans, even though they’re pretty easy to see where I live. The other morning I was walking in the park near work and stopped at a pond, when the lone swan there decided he’d come out of the water and try to intimidate me into giving him some food. I didn’t have any, but he certainly wasn’t shy – I felt quite nervous when I saw him just up and out of the water and stand right in front of me 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Swans are beautiful that’s for sure, but they can certainly be quite intimidating and yes, scary at times 😮 I like to keep a healthy distance, and that’s why it’s so amazing that at the sanctuary they tolerate all the visitors the way they do. Centuries of nesting and living there must have conditioned them to a certain level of tolerance I’m guessing. I’m also guessing you walked slowly and quietly away from your swan…that would be quite threatening. So glad you enjoyed the pics Andrea (haha…yes, I did like that lone swan on the path…), thank you so much for walking along with me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Sherri, I’m speechless and that doesn’t happen often. 🙂 What a wonderful and peaceful environment, minus the hooded man, he would have scared me. I love swans, not only are they graceful but to me they represent peace. All of your photos are spectacular, but I would pay for a copy of the Fleet Lagoon and Dorset countryside…stunning shot! Thank you for this delightful post. Enjoy your weekend! xoxo

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…you always make me smile Jill…you and me both, oh the chats we would have 🙂 You would love it at the Swannery, you and DFD (except for the weird hooded monk). I’ll take you there when you visit me 😀 Swans are so beautiful and elegant aren’t they? It was a thrill to re-visit with hubby after so many years (he had never been before and had always wanted to go). You are so kind about my photos, thank you so much, especially as I struggled with the lighting that day. I used my mobile phone camera and found it difficult to filter out the sunlight at times so I was a bit disappointed with some but was glad to be able to share these here. So I’m thrilled you enjoyed them 🙂 I hope you had a good weekend and week ahead…can’t believe it’s Monday already 🙂 xoxo

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  17. restlessjo says:

    ‘Walking with swans’ sounds like a theme from a movie and it does look a bit that way, Sherri. 🙂 I love that first glossy swan close up! What a lovely sequence- I really enjoyed strolling amongst these beauties with you, and all the little details you supply. Roast swan! Not a nice idea, but then I don’t suppose chickens get a great deal either, do they? I could SO be a vegetarian!
    Many thanks for joining me, Sherri. 🙂 Have you planned a blogging break yet, or finding it too hard to tear yourself away?

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh Jo, thank you, you are so kind and I’m thrilled you enjoyed this ‘movie’ 😀 I took these photos with my mobile phone camera (Samsung) and as I was saying to Jill, I was a bit disappointed with some as I struggled with the lighting. You can see how much warmer everything looks when the sun came out at the end of the day but actually I do also love these kind of days with the dark, looming clouds overhead as the sun tries to break through, giving everything an almost ethereal, silvery glow, especially on the water. Nice to think that these swans stay on the water and not on a silver platter as part of a banquet 🙂

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  18. prior says:

    well you got me – by first showing just the one swan – then the pair – then – well then wham – the bunches – it was cool!!!! and the monk cardboard figure – it looks so real. oh – and the bug motel – we call that the home of the FBI = the fungus bacteria and insects – ha! excellent stroll 🙂 ❤ ❤

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    • Sherri says:

      Glad I got you Y, that’s great 😀 Haha…love that, ‘the home of the FBI’..perfect, I’ll remember that from now on, clever that… 😉 That monk freaked me out let me tell you, I literally did jump out of my skin thinking it was some wierdo left over from Halloween, ha 😉 So glad you enjoyed this walk with me in the Swannery mon amie, thank you so much for sharing it with me 🙂 ❤ ❤ 🙂

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  19. Sherri that was some walk and my favourite kind, your swan photo’s are divine. The white swans look so elegant. We have black ones near us but to see all those white swans must have been a magical day. Thanks for sharing your day out with us. kath

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    • Sherri says:

      So glad you enjoyed this walk Kath, my pleasure to have you along, thank you so much 🙂 When I was a girl we took our holidays on the Norfolk Broads which is teeming with waterfowl and wildlife. We used to see black swans and it was such a thrill but there are hardly any left now. I haven’t seen one in years, so I was thrilled to hear of yours, all swans are magical to me 🙂

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  20. What an amazing place this is, Sherri! Your photos are so lovely. Thank you so much for sharing with us and for taking part ❤

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  21. Mabel Kwong says:

    What a lovely place to visit, Sherri. There’s a very peaceful feel about it. “Swannery Sanctuary”. That is a very catchy name indeed.

    I thought your shots turned out great despite the camcorder you were using. You certainly know how to get animals to star in your shots (and I think you’re wise enough to know not to use flash photography around animals) 😉 I also think you and your entourage were a very friendly bunch, and that’s why the swans were happy to mingle all around you and didn’t mind the photos. Haha, some of them are even sticking their necks up high – they are probably as curious about their surroundings as your groups were 😀

    Thanks for sharing this outing with us, eventhough it was a bit of a grey day. It’s always fun to walk with you!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, it is rather catchy isn’t it! So glad to have you along Mabel, my pleasure, thank you so much for walking with me :-). These photos were taken with my mobile phone camera but I was disappointed with some as it was difficult with the lighting and I haven’t quite figured out all the different settings. I left my other Cyber-Shot at home 😦 Still, I was glad to share these here. The bulky old camcorder went years ago but it was handy for filming on all those family outings with my kids back in the 90s. Positively outdated now, ha! I still have so many old videos that need to be converted to DVDs 😉 This visit with just hubby and I was beautifully tranquil and atmospheric, lovely to see the swans before they closed down the sanctuary to visitors until next March 🙂

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      • Mabel Kwong says:

        Very sad to hear that the sanctuary will eventually be closed down to the public. But I’m sure the swans will still be taken good care of 🙂

        Looks like you’ve handled a lot of kinds of cameras and recording devices. I’m sure you’ll learn your mobile phone camera in no time. Take care, Sherri 🙂

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      • Sherri says:

        Thank you Mabel…but don’t worry, it’s only closed for the season until next March! Maybe I’ll get back there and get some of shots of some hatching cygnets next time 🙂 Have a lovely week and you take care too 🙂

        Like

  22. What a joy it was to go there with you. I have taken so many pictures of ducks and geese here in Portland, OR but rarely catch sight of swans. I love them. It’s nice to know there are people still willing to care for their nesting sites and for them. Beautiful photos. What a pleasant day that must have been. I’d like to stop by and visit with your friends but must get back to work. Thank you for a few relaxing moments.

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    • Sherri says:

      Oregon is beautiful Marlene, I’ve been to Portland 🙂 My pleasure to share this beautiful Swannery with you, thank you so much for taking the time to walk with me, wonderful 🙂

      Like

  23. jennypellett says:

    Brill report and pictures, Sherri. Have heard of this place but never visited and now I feel I almost don’t have to, as I’ve had an armchair experience with you.
    Swans are beautiful, aren’t they? We saw a mother swan and eight cygnets on the River Wey recently, a very unusual sight to see such a large family, we felt quite privileged to spot them sailing serenely by.

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh I just love catching sight of a family of swans ‘sailing serenely by’ as you so eloquently put it, they truly are beautiful aren’t they? That was a large family too 🙂 Ahh…so glad you enjoyed this walk, thanks so much for coming along Jenny…and I would say that it’s well worth a visit for when you might next find yourself in Dorset 🙂

      Like

  24. Beautiful birds and great pictures and of course the history lesson. It’s so cool that you share your knowledge with us. It’s better than reading a history book.

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  25. I have never heard of a swannery before. How had you learned about the Abbotsbury Swannery the first time you visited?

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    • Sherri says:

      I have strong family links with Dorset and lived there myself for a decade so it’s one of those places we discovered during our travels. There’s also Abbotsbury Gardens nearby but we haven’t ever gone there…yet 😉 Thanks so much for coming along for the walk 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Tom Merriman says:

    Swans are beautiful birds, Sherri, even the cross ones! Thank you for this walk around the Swannery… very invigorating! And you’re right… there’s a definite chill in the air now!

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…yes Tom, even the cross ones!! Those are definitely to be avoided at all costs, which is what makes this Swannery all the more amazing 🙂 So glad you enjoyed the walk, my pleasure to share it with you and great to see you over at the summerhouse again…got the little fan heater out now to warm things up a bit 🙂

      Like

  27. julie says:

    I visited Abbotsbury several years ago, and it still looks just as beautiful 🙂

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  28. What a lovely place! And how appropriate that Nelson’s Hardy should have a monument there. I thought at first it was to the writer since that’s where I know about Fleet and Chesil beach. I’ve always wanted to see it in ‘real life’. Thanks 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Jane, you and me both! I always thought it was to Thomas Hardy, for years I thought that, and it would have made sense being in Dorset! One of these days, I’ll take that walk right up to it, but for now I was glad to snap this shot from the roadside, despite hubby’s protestations at it being a dangerous place to stop. Call of duty and all that 😉 Thanks Jane, glad you’ve now seen the ‘real’ thing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Algar Seco | restlessjo

  30. Ste J says:

    That was awesome, I felt like I had wandered around all day and had a geat time seeing the sights. So much history, I really do love this little Island of ours. Those swans look wonderfully majestic,

    It is interesting about the Dambusters bouncing bomb as I have a testing ground near me over the county border in Derbyshire. I like how your experiences dovetail with my own, in fact every time I come here, your writing always make me feel familiar with whatever you write about, whether it is new to me or not.

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    • Sherri says:

      It’s great being able to share our walks isn’t it? I do so love this wonderful isle of ours too, especially as I lived away from it for so long. I don’t like it when I hear people complain about it…it’s not perfect, but who/what is? That is so interesting Ste 🙂 Derbyshire is a place I would love to visit and learn more about. My brother was in the RAF for a time some years ago and while stationed in Germany, we visited one of actual dams that Wallis’ bombs breached in 1943 (can’t remember the name, to my shame). My photo doesn’t do it justice, but that bomb is huge, but then it would be wouldn’t it? I grew up with films like Dambusters, The Battle of Britain and The Great Escape. That’s really lovely, that feeling of familiarity you have over here whether ‘new to me or not’…I’m going to go away and ponder that now…thank you…

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      • Ste J says:

        we may have a lot going on in our country but we have plenty of heritage left and that is what makes our home so wondrous. Derbyshire is my favourite county, hills, valleys, moors, old houses and industry and some really, really good bookshops. Those old war films are classics, The Guns of Navarone as well, that is my favourite war film, although Zulu runs it close. I do like to make you ponder, it is mutual, I assure you.

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      • Sherri says:

        Heritage..yes, that is what we have and we celebrate it in our unique way don’t we? Derbyshire sounds glorious…you’ve sold me! I love exploring new parts of this wonderful isle of ours and Derbyshire has just shot to number one on the list. And now you’ve gone and done it…yes, The Guns of Navarone yes, but Zulu? I absolutely adore Zulu. I could go on and on about it…but I’ll probably cry. So emotional, especially at the end where they are all singing…with young Michael Caine and Stanley Baker…One of the best films ever made.

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  31. pommepal says:

    Just amazing to see so many swans together. I’m surprised when you said they just hiss. The few swans I came in contact with way back in the dark ages would go for you with wings flapping and neck extended when they had young ones. I love coming on this walk with you.

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi pommepal! Yes, I think that these swans are so used to all the visitors that they have learnt an awful lot of tolerance. In the wild I wouldn’t dare go near a swan protecting its family, I’ve known of people coming away with broken arms! They are beautiful and majestic but they can be quite aggressive as you describe. Thank you so much for coming along this walk with me, my pleasure to share it with you 🙂

      Like

  32. TBM says:

    What a beautiful area and I had no idea it existed. Fingers crossed for a better winter. The floods were awful last year. Thanks for sharing such a lovely place.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Lovely to have you along TB, thanks so much for taking this walk with me 🙂 Yes, if you are ever in Dorset from next March onwards, you must visit, it is well worth it (but not during school holidays!!). Oh I hope we get a proper winter this year, as in frost and yes, snow (kill off those bugs) and no floods 😮

      Like

  33. Marie Keates says:

    It’s well known how much I like swans and the mute swans and black swans here are wild. It I’ve never seen quite so many all together before. We have some orphan cygnets on the river here. Luckily they seem to be surviving well and have moved up river to the White Swan pub where customers keep them well fed with bread. I would love to see a cygnet hatching.

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, I love your swan photos Marie, they are beautiful aren’t they? I remember thinking how wonderful for you to see a black swan, I haven’t seen one for years. I’m so glad that they are all thriving there. On the Norfolk Broads, there is a pub also called the White Swan, I remember it as the place where we would meet my grandparents at the beginning of our annual holidays there. And yes, there were always lots of swans on the river being well fed by the customers just the same 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Luanne says:

    Oh what a beautiful Monday morning surprise for me. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a “Swannery.” Gorgeous.

    Like

  35. TanGental says:

    Like everyone above, enjoyed your post and then I reached the bouncing bombs. Had a bit of a jolt because the Archaeologist spent a long time, when working at DCC as part of their archaeology team responsible for the Jurassic coast and the marine archaeology) working with divers in the Fleet to retrieve as many relics as they could find based on Barnes Wallis’s records of the test runs. He proved the old genius fudged his reports. He had permission to trial six bombs using a Wellington (they were rather needed elsewhere but since BW designed them he got one to do six runs). The records show one in December and then four more in Jan but in fact the relics show at least a dozen or more were dropped! The one you saw was the first prototype he tells me, the golf ball shape, to prove they would bounce. Once BW had shown the ministry they would bounce he went to Reculver off the North Kent cost to work on the rotation which led to the oil drum shape design they used. Thereafter they went to the Derbyshire water mentioned above to work out the distances and height’s needed. According to the Archaeologist some of the bits they found are in the Fleet museum near Portland which you probably know. Fascinating.

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    • Sherri says:

      Fascinating this Geoff, just fascinating. BTW, just as an aside, when I was ‘growing up’…still am I think..I harboured dreams of being an archaeologist. I remember going to the Tutankhamen exhibition in London when I was 13 and was absolutely mesmerised by it, starting me off on years of reading, researching, desperate to get to Egypt and be the next great discoverer of some hidden tomb. Of course it never happened…but I realised that one doesn’t have to travel out of one’s own country to go on digs. Never too late and all that…anyway, moving swiftly on from all that. So, goodness, old BW fudged his reports did he and the Archaeologist has him busted? Well, I knew none of this so I will be sure to share this with various family members. Sadly, I haven’t been to the Fleet museum but will definitely go now. One of our favourite places is Bovington Tank Museum, have you ever been there? They have a replica of the WWI trenches there now. Amazing place, packed full of history and of course tanks, which my kids seem obsessed with, including daughter. I always made a point of dragging my kids all around museums, churches, cathedrals and such so that they could have a good hold on their British roots while we lived in America. I wanted them to have the best of both worlds since they learnt a lot about American history at school. It must have paid off (and I’ve been forgiven) because all of them love history (eldest son took his degree in history at Sussex uni) and now they teach me, ha! ‘Tis the way of it! Thanks so much for this wonderful piece of information. Who knew that a casual walk through a Swannery would spark off a chat about the old Bouncing Bomb… 😉

      Like

  36. Seyi sandra says:

    Such lovely, lovely photos Sherri! 🙂 The swans are simply lovely, I’m lucky to live near a park where we could go watch the white and black Swans waddle in water, such a rarity for London and they are such a delight to the eyes. I didn’t know this place exist in Dorset and with such a rich history! The guy in black looks a bit scary too! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this my friend.
    Love and blessings to you! 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed the beautiful swans Seyi, and how lovely to see you over at the summerhouse. I’ve kept the kettle simmering away ready to pour you a cuppa so we can sit down and catch up, and maybe have a biscuit…or two 😉 I love black swans and haven’t seen any for years. So lovely for you to see them at your park. We used to see them all the time on the Norfolk Broads when we took our annual boating holidays there, but last time we didn’t see one sadly. Yes, if you are ever in Dorset, do take a visit to the Swannery, you and your family will just love it. It is beautiful, educational, and gives a wonderful walk in the fresh air no matter the weather…not to mention all the amazing swans 🙂 Thank you so much, and love and blessings to you too my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Seyi sandra says:

        I’m sipping tea now with a cake, munching away as I read your reply. I’m so glad to be at the summerhouse, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. I was speaking to my husband this morning before we left for work about the Swannery in Dorset and he was quiet taken by it. Who knows when we’ll pop in and see that incredible site.

        Do have a great night dear and my love to all that is yours.
        Much love! 🙂 🙂

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        Ahh…how wonderful to read this Seyi! I do hope you will go one day… 🙂 Much love & blessings to you and yours too…and make sure to save some cake for me 😉 😀 ❤

        Like

  37. I thoroughly enjoyed that Sherri! I’ve been mesmerized/fascinated with swans for as long as I can remember. I loved your photos (as usual). Unfortunately, I don’t get to see many in my neck of the woods.

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  38. Pingback: Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge: Roundup and start of new week (62) | Hope* the happy hugger

  39. Steve Rebus says:

    Thank you so much Sherri for taking me around this beautiful part of the world! I love your photos and the way you describe your day.
    I’d love to visit here too and take some photos, maybe one day! 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank YOU Steve, so thrilled to have you along for this walk through the beautiful Swannery, always my pleasure to share this part of the world with you. You would take some stunning photos if you ever do go. I took these with my mobile phone camera (Samsung) but had some trouble with the lighting so I was a bit disappointed with some, but hopefully these weren’t too bad 🙂 I wish I could take photos like you though… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Imelda says:

    Oh, what a pretty bucolic place. 🙂 Your country is so beautiful.

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  41. I want to go for a walk here Sherri. I love swans and the Dorset countryside looks just beautiful. I watched a movie, I think B & W, about the bouncing bomb. Interesting to know that the swannery was where it was trialled. Thanks for taking me on your walk Sherri. I enjoyed it immensely. 🙂

    Like

  42. What a beautiful place. Swans are so beautiful 🙂 Pawkisses 🙂

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  43. The English country side and its history are just as gorgeous and fascinating as the French ones. The swans are such beautiful creatures. I love the pic of the mom and her teenage kid. Lovely post, as always, Sherri.

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    • Sherri says:

      We do share a love of and for our mutual countrysides and history Evelyne, isn’t it wonderful? I’m so glad you enjoyed walking with the swans, thank you for your lovely comment 🙂

      Like

  44. Wow! So many beautiful, graceful swans. Wonderful place with a very rich history and amazing landscape. Thanks you for taking us there. Have a blessed weekend my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      So happy to know you enjoyed this walk with the swans my friend! Always a great pleasure to share the beauty of the English countryside with you 🙂 Thank you so much, and you have a wonderful, blessed weekend too 🙂

      Like

  45. poppytump says:

    I don’t know how many times I’ve been to Dorset Sherri but have yet to visit the Swannery , you’ve really made sure now that I won’t get sidetracked again with your lovely post and pictures ( that added nugget about BWallis will fascinate BB .)
    They are magnificent birds and irresistible – for photography – that is 😉

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh I hope you do get to visit the Swannery one of these days Poppy, it really is a wonderful place to visit. Ahh..thank you, so glad you enjoyed the walk and the extra little nugget of history too 🙂 You just never know what you will find at these places do you? Swans are indeed magnificent and yes, better left on the water than on someone’s silver platter 😉

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  46. Beautiful images Sherri. We have swans here in Ottawa and I love to watch their graceful movements. BTW…I included your photo of the cemetery orb in my recent post (Orbs: Spiritual Messengers or Vehicles for Spirits?) with credit to your blog. I also made an interesting discovery when I saw a photo of Lady Alda Hoare!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Bev! So glad you enjoyed this walk, a pleasure to share it with you 🙂 Oooh…will be over as soon as I can today, sounds utterly intriguing, thank you so much for linking to my blog. I hope your readers enjoy the photo 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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