“Summer” swans born, but icy conditions beckon for Bank Holiday weekend

The birth of these infant swans is supposed to indicate the start of summer- but Britain is bracing itself for Arctic conditions this Bank Holiday weekend.

Traditionally, the arrival of the first newborns at Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset are said to herald the start of warmer times. This year they have arrived the earliest since records began in 1393 - just as snow and temperatures as low as -9C degrees are forecast for parts of the country.

Snow is expected in northern England and the Scottish Highlands, while frost will cover the rest of the country.

"We could see temperatures drop in one or two spots to -5C or -6C,” said a Netweather spokesman.

Abbotsbury Swannery, based on Chesil Beach, is the only managed colony of nesting mute swans in the world.

John Houston, general manager of Abbotsbury Tourism, said: "It seems to be against the grain, but we are in a microclimate down here in Abbotsbury.

"You can have fog, rain, sleet and snow just 10 miles away in Dorchester but then down here on the Jurassic Coast between Weymouth and Bridport we are basking in sunshine.

"We can be having the most wonderful weather while everyone else is suffering."