This film is part of Free

Abbotsbury Swannery

Mute swans at the Abbotsbury Swannery have something to say

Nature and Science programme 1983 8 mins

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Secrets of the Coast episode three The Pebbled Shore is presented by broadcaster and naturalist Su Ingle and filmed at Chesil Beach and this excerpt is on Abbotsbury Swannery based on the Fleet Lagoon in Dorset. The unique natural wildlife habitat is one of the only places in the world where there is a public walk through a managed colony of nesting mute swans. Once a year the swans are rounded up during the moult when they are flightless to check on their health.

Swans are intensely territorial with each other and humans. At the swannery they are accustomed to the respectable approach by humans. The Swannery was established by Benedictine Monks during the 1040s originally to farm swans for meat. The estate was passed on to the Strangways family in 1539 and is now owned by Charlotte Townsend, a descendant of the first countess of Ilchester. The swans are all free flying and the swannery provides a perfect sanctuary.