Here’s what I thought of the sublime subtropical gardens & the swell swannery at Abbotsbury in Dorset
Many thanks to Charlotte and James Townshend for the invite – I had a top time
Whilst on holiday in Dorset we visited Abbotsbury Swannery & Subtropical Gardens; we went to the Swannery first and being bird obsessed it ticked all my boxes ! There’s over 600 swans in a fleet (body of water behind Chesil Beach, which is partly tidal and brackish (slightly salty water)), where you can get involved at feeding time.
I thought the swans were quite friendly – although I was advised to not get too close when you’re feeding them. Looking out onto the water it’s an amazing sight, all the swans looked like cotton wool ! The swan herdsman gave a talk whilst we fed the swans and he was full of information, he told us a lot of things and he was very knowledgeable. One of the best things about this attraction is that it’s eco friendly and helps conservation, nature and wildlife.
There was a lot of information on the reserve about how they manage and protect the habitat for the swans and other wildlife
There’s also lots of other interesting stuff including a bouncing bomb, which is a whopping great bomb, which bounced off water during the second world war aimed at blowing up dams. There’s loads of information about the history of the local area including the castle monastery and the history of the people, who have lived at Abbotsbury.
There was a birds of prey display too, which was really interesting and the man was well funny. He talked about the rescue birds there; they were really well kept and he told us about wildlife in the area including stoats, peregrine falcons and voles. My last bit of fun was in the maze, where I found the golden egg!
The subtropical gardens
We then headed over to the Subtropical Gardens; first we had a bit of lunch in the colonial restaurant, looking out onto tropical plants listening to a kookaburra – I thought I was in the jungle!
It’s such a clever garden; it’s well kept, well managed and well thought out and really established to create a feeling like you were in an exotic place. Some areas are kept wild for nature with plants that help birds, bees and butterflies
There was such a mixture of exotic plants, some of which I’ve never seen before and others that do grow in this country e.g.fatsia, mahonia and ferns
I LOVED the rope bridge, what an amazing idea. It was awesome, it felt dangerous to be crossing water – I kept imagining crocodiles underneath me – fortunately there was just some carp!
It’s great to visit gardens like this; it inspires you for your garden at home and you go away with some good ideas. I loved how they cut away the branches on the trees to frame a view of something in the distance
The subtropical plants made me think how can these possibly grow in England with our wet, windy and cold climate? I suppose it’s because the garden is in a dip, which holds the humidity and helps to create this special climate for the plants to thrive #clever!
We had a great time at Abbotsbury – we all really enjoyed it. I don’t think I could grow some of these plants in Manchester, but it gave me some great ideas for garden designs in the future!