Abbotsbury Swannery and Wyke Wood

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Abbotsbury is a lovely village set in beautiful Dorset countryside and adjacent to Chesil Beach and the Fleet Lagoon. It is the home of Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, established in 1765 by the first Countess of Ilchester as a kitchen-garden for her nearby castle. This has developed since then into a magnificent twenty-acre garden filled with rare and exotic plants from all over the world, a popular visitor attraction. Many of the plants were first introductions to this country, discovered by the plant-hunting descendants of the Countess.

A Benedictine monastery was established in Abbotsbury during the 1040s and the monks farmed swans to produce food for their lavish banquets. Now the swannery has also become a popular attraction, where visitors can help hand-feed the 600 swans and see cygnets in season. Combined tickets are available to visit the subtropical gardens, children's farm and the swannery.

Starting at the swannery, the walk follows the South West Coast Path, giving spectacular sea and inland views, to circle round Wyke Wood, which has a profusion of bluebells in spring. The walk then returns to Abbotsbury by a lower-level route, though again affording good views over beautiful countryside, the sea, Chesil Beach and the Fleet Lagoon. Paths are generally good and well-marked and wayfinding is easy. There is quite a steep ascent close to the beginning of the walk.

There are two pubs in Abbotsbury, The Ilchester Arms Hotel and the Swan Inn, plus numerous tea rooms. There are also tea rooms at the swannery and subtropical gardens. There is ample free parking at the start of the walk and at the subtropical gardens.

England - South West England - Dorset - Coast

Features

Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Pub, Public Transport, Sea, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
24/05/2019 - Vera Smith

Did this walk on Monday 20th May 2019. All went well until instruction 9. Mindful of previous comments about route blocked, please be aware of whole area in that vicinity now being walker unfriendly. Our attempts to follow previous signs of activity to progress all failed - brambles, high nettles, dead ends. We were not able to reach New Barn Farm farmyard at all to enable us to continue the route. Met another couple in same predicament. Left with no alternative but to retrace from around point 10 to the road between points 6 and 5 - alternative to trespass on Ilchester Estate clearly signed no right of way.

18/11/2016 - Graham Hooker

Walked this route mid November 2016. Lovely views even on a grey day. Very enjoyable winter's afternoon stroll. Had a problem at Waypoint 10. There seems to be a new fencing and a new gate, albeit the gate leads nowhere as the other side is blocked by brambles. So we continued along the field/wood edge and walked through the farmyard to rejoin the lane. The farmer was working nearby and didn't object. Perhaps he knows the footpath is blocked at that point.

21/05/2012 - Walkingworld Admin

Our thanks to Ryder Cowan for his updates for this walk. May 2012. Adrian (Admin)

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