Abbotsbury — Dorset, England
Abbotsbury is a parish in Dorset located along the famous Jurassic coast, a World Heritage Site. In 2002 UNESCO cited Devon and the Dorset coast for its beauty and antiquity, stating that "The cliff exposures along the Dorset and East Devon coast provide an almost continuous sequence of rock formations spanning the Mesozoic Era, or some 185 million years of the earth's history."
The ancient village of Abbotsbury is lovely and quaint with its stone cottages and thatched roofs; it is also one of the most interesting areas to visit. In this small village one will find numerous attractions, including the well known Abbotsbury Swannery that was established by Benedictine Monks on the Fleet Lagoon; the Tropical Gardens developed in 1765 by the first Countess of Ilchester; the 12th century Tithe Barn that presently features a Children's Farm; the remains of the 11th century Benedictine monastery, the Abbotsbury Abbey; and the 14th century St. Catherine's Chapel, named after the patron saint of spinsters. This is only part of the Abbotsbury charm. There are inns and shops to explore; as well as the miles of trails for hiking and viewing the amazing vistas from the surrounding hills.
The origins of this lovely little village is virtually a tour of history, beginning with the "ancients" that occupied this area, to the Durotriges "water and heath people" whom the Romans found living here, to the Vikings, to the medieval Abbey and to the more recent 1700's when Abbotsbury was considered by Londoners, a village of "thieves, smugglers and plunderers of wrecks" as attested to in the Journal of London. With all of these influences, and past cultures, it is remarkable that for all intents it can be said that Abbotsbury has had only four owners in two thousand years, beginning with the Roman army, than the Wessex crown, followed by the Benedictine Order, and finally to the Strangways family. Each left their own legacy, which the people of Abbotsbury absorbed and changed with.
Today the village of Abbotsbury is a busy tourist attraction with a flourishing community of artisans and artists. Whether visiting the Swannery which is the most popular tourist attraction in the village or the medieval church grounds and cemetery, hiking or bird watching or any of the many activities available, Abbotsbury's quiet and charming atmosphere is conducive to pure enjoyment and relaxation. Additionally, if you have an opportunity to read Thomas Hardy, you will be able to explore "Abbotsea" his fictionalized and immortalizing name for Abbotsbury.Where is Abbotsbury?
Abbotsbury is located in west Dorset along the B3157 between Weymouth and Bridport. The nearest populated areas include Portesham to the east and West Bexington to the west. Need a map? Look at this map of Abbotsbury, circa 1940.Have you ever visited Abbotsbury?
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