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Reviews of Abbotsbury Swannery, Abbotsbury

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Review by Keith on 12th August, 2009

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The Abbotsbury Swannery is probably the most expensive waste of time visit you could probably make. I understand that the place is called 'a swannery' so therefore I knew it was going to all about swans but what happens is you park up, make your way down to the ticket office/shop and discover the toilets (which you are informed are the only ones on site), you go into the shop and pay 9 per adult. You then leave the back of the shop considerablyighter in the pocket to be greeted with a smiling man who if you so wish, will drive you down to the swannery in a cart being pulled by a tractor for the princely of 50p each (no wonder he is smiling). As I had already handed over almost half of a days wage for me and my family, I thought that we could take in what the area had to offer, and walk the distance. Now un-beknown to us the swannery is a fair stretch away and the tarmacked path takes you through a field that must be a regularly used to keep cows, sheep and I can only guess elephants. Although the field was uninhabited at the time that we visited, what greeted us was dung on a grand scale, negotiating this tarmacked path with a 3 year old walking and a 2 year old in a buggy was quite some task to say the least, what then happened is the people who cared to pay 50p each for the tractor ride came past us forcing all of us to move onto the grass which contained even great volumes of animal waste. Cheers guys! when you finally reach the gate they kindly lay on some upturned stiff brushes for you to clean the spoils of your shoes and spray them off in all directions so as to not harm the swans in their natural environment. The swannery consists of a path which takes you alongside a stream that contains about two cygnets and a swan, followed by a reed fence which separates them from another couple of cygnets and another swan. This pattern continues for a short while until you come out to a place which is really quite beautiful, with chesil beach as a backdrop and a large expanse of water graced with a mass of swans. Unfortunately if you don't visit at the two designated feeding times you only get to see this view from an area the size of a large lounge. I was not going to hang around for several hours knowing that the only toilets where about 10 minutes away along the 'dodge dung dash' just to chuck a scoopful of grain at a sea of swans. After a short while we followed the path around past some tall reed beds which has a sign telling us that its visited by reed warblers, accompanied by a picture. The path loops you back to the beginning where you can take 'walk 2' past more large cygnets and take in the same picturesque view of chesil from a viewing platform. Along the way there are small signs on sticks giving limited information, like, swan white ring TWN born 12/4/2002. I did not see any signs informing me about the birthday of the large rats that I saw swimming alongside the swans. Still you can't have it all I suppose. There was also a tiny old building that contained the history of the swannery (about 8 poster size boards explaining something about a monks etc.) which I admit we did not bother to read as by this point I had had enough along with the '10 minute visual and audio display about swans' (why couldn't they describe it as a film about swans). There was one last thing, which was a maze in the shape of a swan, but when you pay they give you a photocopy map of the maze so that kind of killed it for me anyway. So we gave that a miss and started the trek back to the shop along the poo piled path. When we reached the shop I couldn't help but notice that there were no upturned brushes to clean our shoes to protect 'our environment' of car or carpet. Still, they did have a cafe but that sold pre-packed cakes and drinks, not the normal rural home-made cakes and jams with pots of tea that you normally expect to look forward to. So we all left there after 40 minutes of arriving feeling completely destroyed that people save hard all year to come and visit the south of England from all over the country and even from overseas to be ripped off in such a fantastic style. The End.

Date visited: 12/08/09

Review by Hannah on 14th July, 2008

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Nice location and scenery, a little expensive for the size of the place and the amount of time you could realistically spend there - price is now 8.50 for an adult. I don't think I would go again. The feeding is good, but I would only allow 2 hours max visiting time. Nice idea and lovely to see so mny swans in one place, but could do with a bit more to see/do or lower prices.

Date visited: 12/07/08

Review by jake on 23rd June, 2008

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"all the family had a great day glad its on again see youthis year thanks"

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