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Abbotsbury Swannery

nr Weymouth, Dorset

Location Guide


Abbotsbury Swannery is unique. This is the only place in the world where you are able to walk through the heart of a colony of free-flying nesting Mute Swans. Sheltered by Chesil Beach this ancient site provides protection of hundreds of nesting swans and their broods.

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 banquets. St Peter's monastery was destroyed in 1539 during the dissolution. Some of the ruins are still visible around St Nicholas' Church in the village. Since that time the Swannery has been under the stewardship of the Ilchester Estates.

Swan feathers played an incalculable role in England's cultural development. It was from them hardened in hot sand, that quill pens were cut.

Click here for details on the Picture

During nesting and hatching period on average, over 100 nests produce over 600 cygnets. By the end of May you can wander safely around the nests, observing close quarters the antics of fluffy cygnets. Unlike river swans they are happy for you to walk amongst the nests and at this time Baby Swans (Cygnets) can be photographed leaving their eggs!

An audio visual show about the Swannery runs hourly during the day.

Further information Grid


Abbotsbury Swannery nr Weymouth, Dorset

Ceremonial County: Dorset

Grid Reference:


Map Link:

View Map

Aerial photo: Aerial Photo



Best Times to Visit:

All year round





Other useful websites:


Nearby Locations:

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

Abbotsbury Childrens Farm

Dorset Coast, Charmouth

Other Relevant pages:


Mute Swans



Planning Grid


Abbotsbury Swannery nr Weymouth, Dorset

Grid Reference:


Getting there:

Leave the A35 at Winterborne Abbas, west of Dorchester. Abbotsbury is on the B3157 coastal road between Weymouth and Bridport. The Swannery is sign posted on entering the village.


Clearly sign posted on entering the village. From the Weymouth end of the village there is a sharp left-hand bend on the approach to the swannery.


Free Car park


Toilets at main entrance and in coffee shop. Coffee Shop. No Public toilets in Swannery. Gift shop. Picnic site. Audio-Visual tour

Things To Do, See and Photograph:

Over 600 swans on lakes

What to take:

Lenses suitable for close ups, poloriser or grads, white balance and watch out for lost highlights on the whites of the swans, use appropriate exposures.

Nature highlights:

Mass feeding 12noon and at 4pm every day.

Late March-End of April: Nesting

Cygnets hatching from mid May to late June.

July-October: Ugly Ducklings

September-October: Learning to fly

October: Many swans move off site, influx of other wildfowl.


New Barn Road


Nr Weymouth





01305 871858

Opening times:

15th March to 2nd November 10am-5pm, Bank Holidays 10am-6pm


Adult: 8.50 - OAP, Student, Disabled: 8 - Child (5-15) 5.50

Passports also available to cover Swannery, Gardens and Children's Farm from 10-15.

Photo Restrictions:


Other Restrictions:  
Special Needs Access: All paths are accessible by wheelchair.
Special Needs Facilities: Two wheelchairs are available on free loan. Disabled toilets by the car park and in the restaurant.
Children Facilities: Baby changing facilities in public toilets at entrance to park. Rustic playground with swinging nets and a bale mountain.
Dogs Allowed: NO

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Tracey Park Section: Wildlife Key:
Page Ref: abbotsbury_swannery Topic: Wildfowl and Wetland Spaces Last Updated: 04/2009


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