A new webcam showing nesting swans at Bishop’s Palace in Wells, Somerset, has received more than 67,000 hits in the past week.

The ‘swancam’ captures the activities of the resident swan pair and their recently hatched eight cygnets. Mother Avalon, a wild swan, gives her babies piggyback rides on the moat, watched over by father Mendip, who was introduced to the Palace after damaging his wing in the wild.

The swans have always been popular with tourists, and are famous for ringing the bell beside the gatehouse when they want to be fed. A spokesman for the diocese of Bath and Wells said: ‘The staff came up with the idea for the webcam, as the swans nested near to our office, out of public view.

‘It’s quite an event, as this is the first time in three years that swans have nested at the palace. The cygnets add to the magic of the place, and it’s a delight to watch them grow.’

The Somerset residence of the Bishop of Bath and Wells has been home to several swan pairs, including one which was a gift from The Queen in 2006 in honour of the palace’s 800th birthday.

This pair, however, flew the nest last summer and are now thought to be nesting on the Somerset levels.

Visit the webcam at www.bishopspalacewells.co.uk