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5 ways to protect the swans in Stratford-upon-Avon

It’s hard to believe there was a time when there was only a solitary pair of swans in Stratford-upon-Avon. One pair, named Tom and Roxanne, their elegant predecessors wiped off the surface of the Avon by lead poisoning from angling weights and food shortages.

That was 40 years ago, and the then front-of-house manager at the Hilton Hotel (now the Crowne Plaza) decided that wasn’t good enough. After all, swans were synonymous with Stratford back in Shakespeare’s time (the Bard was called the Sweet Swan of Avon) – how could there only be one last hardly-breeding pair?

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Stratford-upon-Avon: the basics

Had the pitter-patter of baby William’s feet not trodden the boards of the Henley Street home of the Shakespeares, you certainly wouldn’t be reading this before you visit Stratford-upon-Avon. It would simply be another medieval market town in the middle of England: pretty, but insignificant.

But wobble across the boards a knee-high William Shakespeare did, as his first words became sentences that became ideas that became some of the world’s most beloved pieces of literature.

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