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British Life & Culture

Special Events & Celebrations

by Mandy Barrow

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Swan Upping on the River Thames

Swan Upping photo

The census of people takes place every ten years. The census of swans takes place annually during July on the River Thames in a ceremony known as Swan Upping. Swans are counted and marked on a 70 mile, five day journey up the River Thames.

The Swan Upping event takes place in July each year, commencing on the third Monday at Sunbury and ending at Abingdon on the Friday. (timetable)

The swans on the River Thames are Mute Swans (Cygnus olor). They are not actually mute, they can honk and hiss alot. Mute swans are seen in Britain all year round and are distinguished by a bright orange beak, which has a knob of black tissue on the top.

Swan Uppers searching for cygnets

The Swan Uppers catch and check the health of the swans and their cygnets through five counties, from Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex, to Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

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Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.