Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Beautiful Brownsea

Our great friends Peter and Jenny are NT volunteers and give their time working on Brownsea Island- Jenny welcomes people as they come off the boat, and Peter drives the little buggy, showing less mobile visitors the sights.
Brownsea is only a few miles away from Ferndown, set in Poole Harbour -Jenny was concerned that in 3½years, we'd not been.
They had the opportunity to each take a guest to an event last Monday, and kindly invited us to join them. It was glorious! We parked at Sandbanks  and then got the boat across to the island around 3.30pm.
Sandbanks has, by area, the fourth largest land value in the world! Peter said that Harry Redknapp used to live in one of these houses.
We watched the chain ferry going across as we sailed out to the island- the only passengers on the boat!
On arrival, we had a cup of reliable NT tea, and watched one of the red squirrels [for which the island is famous] scampering about among the picnic tables, hoping for morsels.
Then we walked across the island- spotting a deer in the long grass. Bob saw a rabbit, and there were peacocks strutting about too - but I never got photos of them!
Trees however do not move, so I managed some pictures of them! This amazing oak, believed to date back to 1687, fell unexpectedly 4 years ago. 
The woodlands are carefully managed- the Island belongs to the National Trust, but the hotel is on a long lease to the John Lewis Partnership, and the Dorset Wildlife Trust manage the lagoon.
33 years ago, two lovers carved their names on a tree- and 26 years later, art students developed the 'Heart Wood' painting heart patterns on the trees- but very cleverly - you have to stand back and look through the trees and when seen together they reveal the pattern.
It is possible to look out over the water and watch the boat, including large ferries en route to France. The island has a rich history [read it here] with various owners and celebrated visitors, from Viking times, right up until it was acquired by the National Trust in 1961. The John Lewis Partnership were  generous benefactors in this process.
The restored engine reveals part of the island's former glory. The classy rubbish bins [labelled "General Waste"] are all over the island. There's a memorial to Robert Baden Powell. He came here with 20 boys in 1907 - this is the birthplace of the Boy Scouts. He taught them camping and woodcraft. The original troop were made up of sons of the nobility, and ordinary lads from the Boys' Brigade company in Bournemouth 
BB was already a quarter of a century old before BP's experiment! We finished our walk, and returned to the cafe area. We'd seen so much beautiful scenery, and learned a lot from J&P about the island - its history and its ecology.
We enjoyed a lovely picnic supper in the warm sunshine, and felt we could be sitting anywhere on the Mediterranean coast! Huge boats went past, bearing the rich - and possibly famous - to who knows where!
But this was only the start of our experience. We were really there for another BOAT. I'll tell you about that soon...[thanks Peter and Jenny, Brownsea was just wonderful as you'd promised!]


  1. It sounds like a lovely place to visit!

  2. Thank you for posting those photo's. I parked at Sandbanks and went across on the ferry a few years ago. It's a wonderful place to visit.


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