Approximately 1½ miles long by ¾ mile wide, Brownsea Island, lies just inside the entrance to Poole Harbour. It offers magnificent views across the harbour, the Purbeck Hills and Studland Bay. It is
part of the National Trust. „
Brownsea Island is located in the South of England and is famous for being the place where the scout movement began and also for it's red squirrels.
Brownsea Island can only be reached by water, or maybe by helicopter if one has such a thing ;-) I have always ventured to Brownsea via one of the pleasure boats which can take passengers there from Poole Harbour.
I should mention that this costs around £7 per adult and then there is a National Trust fee to get onton the island. I like to use a National Trust card at this point so am not sure what the fee is.
The Brownsea Island Scout camp was a boys camping event on Brownsea Island, organised by Lieutenant-General Baden-Powell to test his ideas for the book Scouting for Boys. This was the begining of the very popular scout movement, which led to guides, brownies etc.
The island is surrounded by a lagoon which is home to many different types of wildlife including the Avocet, Black- and Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Redshank and Greenshank.
In my experience, the red squirrels are the easiest to spot in the spring and autumn months, in around the extensive wooded parts of the island. However, they are shy of people and therefore can be easily scared off by us noisy humans!
Last time I visited Brownsea Island, two red squirrels were scarpering about in the nearby trees and we were lucky enough to be entertained by them for the best part of 20 minutes. They are very comical little creatures when they think that no one is looking!
I understand that there are at present approximately 200-250 red squirrels on Brownsea, but numbers fluctuate from year to year.
Other wildlife on the island include jays, woodcocks, peacocks and pheasants. I was once picnicing with my dad on the pebbly beach when a peacock came out of nowhere, very close to us. The colours were beautiful and it made our day.
Each time I have visited Brownsea we have had a lovely walk around the island and been entertained by the wildlife around. It's so peaceful on Brownsea if you go on a day that's not too warm and sunny, the best time to go in my opinion.
All in all, Brownsea is a great place to go for nature lovers.
Go to Poole Harbour in Dorset, take a small 30 minute ferry ride to Brownsea Island and you have a memorable day out for all the family at your feet. This small island holds a very different diversity of life than anywhere on mainland England. It isn't all that well known, so it is always pretty quiet and secluded even at the height of the season. From the minute you set foot on the island, you realise there is something different about it. The air is different. Much of the island is covered in coniferous woodland which is home to red deer, and the endangered species, the red squirrel. The smaller grey squirrel on the mainland, chased out the red squirrel which has a more specific diet to the greys, and now they thrive only in some areas of Scotland, and Brownsea. And because the island is so quiet, the squirrels are quite friendly and bold. Peacocks/peahens also roam free on the island. If you take a picnic, you'll find they'll come right up to you to help themselves. (They especially like smoky bacon flavour crisps!) You are free to roam through much of the woods. Trails are mapped for guidance. Some areas are cordened off as they are being monitored by the National Trust, but there are Trust workers around if you have any questions. The beaches are gorgeous, and you can see neighbouring, privately-owned islands in close range. (It makes you wish you had the money to own one!) There is a Trust-owned hotel on Brownsea. Booked in advance, visitors may stay, but the John Lewis company have a stake in it and if you are a partner, reduced rates apply. It is a small but wondeful island that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. The only vehicles are the Land Rovers of the National Trust. It is so quiet, peaceful and clean, it is a real surprise that an English island could be so different.
Brownsea Island is situated in Poole Harbour, A wonderfully atmospheric island of heath and woodland, privately owned until 1962, when the National Trust bought it. It is now a haven for a rich variety of wildlife, including a colony of red squirrels and many species of birds. Part of the island is leased as a nature reserve to the Dorset Wildlife Trust. There are many lovely walks on the island including a walk through the first scout camp that Baden Powell took his troops of scouts too. A very interesting island, there is a castle on the island, but it is not open to the public. Access is by boat from Poole Quay. A lovely day out and the temperature on the island is always a couple of degrees higher than on the mainland.