Brownsea Island, United Kingdom

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About Us

Hi I’m Lisa. Welcome to Islandeering I’m an islandeer, author and marine conservationist and passionate about sharing what I have learnt from my travels around the islands of the British Isles to help you find an adventure. I started the project 12 years ago after I had one of those light bulb moments and realised the pure magic that islands held for me. After meeting so many people on their island travels who shared my passion and told me that I must share my experiences so that others could do the same I set up Islandeering.com, where we are passionate about promoting responsible travel to our great British islands.
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Join our Islandeering community

We have a lot of fun here, as we continuously find new islands and meet plenty of great folks along the way. Join our community to get new routes and adventures, latest blogs and news by using the email box below. Tune in also to our Facebook and Instagram pages to see where we are going next.
High Point: 27 metres, Lincoln Cliff Head
Population: 30
Size: 300 ha
Wild Factor: 7 out of 10

Overview: Visit Brownsea Island to see a flourishing wildlife haven with woods, lagoons and unspoilt beaches, a world apart from the bustle of Poole Harbour. Sitting serenely just 400 metres away from the glass-fronted mansions and urban foreshore of ‘Millionaires Row’ at the mouth of the harbour, Brownsea bursts with flowers and wildlife and was recently voted the best nature reserve in the UK. A string of eccentric owners has shaped this island’s character and most famously it is the spiritual home to Scouts worldwide. Today it is in the joint ownership of the National Trust and the Dorset Wildlife Trust; part of the island is leased to the John Lewis Partnership.   The high point of the island, located at Lincoln Cliff Head, is twenty-seven metres..

Type of island: inhabited, approx 30 people

Location: Poole Harbour, Dorset

Getting to Brownsea Island A foot ferry to Brownsea Island runs every day from Poole Quay with Brownsea Island Ferries. Pre-booking highly advisable, does take some walk-ins. Book via the National Trust https://www.nationaltrust-tickets.org.uk/event-tickets/33317?catID=32971&branches.branchID=2449 It is possible to paddleboard, kayak or swim to the island but watch out for the ferries and other boating traffic.

Getting around Brownsea: a variety of walking routes, including a coast walk around the whole island

Best time to go to Brownsea: Brownsea Island is open from March to the end of October.

Is Brownsea dog friendly: No dogs except guide dogs

Food and drink on Brownsea Island A National Trust cafe on the island serves all the usual fare and there are hot drinks and ice cream  at the Scout camp.

Where to stay on Brownsea Island Overnight visitors can stay in one of the two National Trust self-catering cottages on the water’s edge; or spend a night under the stars at the campsite which also has tree tents

Contacts: National Trust Brownsea Island; tel 01202 707744

Things to do on Brownsea Island: 

Brownsea Island coast walks

Spot a spoonbill

Watch red squirrels

Camp where the Scouting movement started

Brownsea Island swim

Watch Shakespeare at Brownsea Open Air Theatre

Other islands nearby

Poole harbour islands –  Pergins, Long, Round, Green, Furzey, Giggers, Stone & Drove

Old Harry Rocks

Portsea Island

Hayling Island

Whale Island

‘Portland’

Gull Island

Thorney Island

Brownsea Island walks

Coast walk around Brownsea

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Brownsea Open Air Theatre

Outdoor theatre in Dorset

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Brownsea Island swim

An iconic island swim

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Spot a spoonbill

Where to spot a spoonbill in England? Look no further than Brownsea

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Where to see red squirrels

Find out where to spot red squirrels

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Camp on Brownsea

Spend a night under the stars where the Scouting movement started

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Brownsea Island, United Kingdom

About Us

Hi I’m Lisa. Welcome to Islandeering I’m an islandeer, author and marine conservationist and passionate about sharing what I have learnt from my travels around the islands of the British Isles to help you find an adventure. I started the project 12 years ago after I had one of those light bulb moments and realised the pure magic that islands held for me. After meeting so many people on their island travels who shared my passion and told me that I must share my experiences so that others could do the same I set up Islandeering.com, where we are passionate about promoting responsible travel to our great British islands.
Learn More

Join our Islandeering community

We have a lot of fun here, as we continuously find new islands and meet plenty of great folks along the way. Join our community to get new routes and adventures, latest blogs and news by using the email box below. Tune in also to our Facebook and Instagram pages to see where we are going next.
Distance: 8.9 km
Difficulty: Easy
Method: Walking
Wow Factor: 9 out of 10

Key Facts

  • Location: Poole Harbour
  • Size: 200 hectares
  • Terrain: easy footpaths, trails.
  • Access: Ferry
  • Height gain: 133 metres
  • Map: OS Explorer OL15.
  • Starting point: Quay on Brownsea Island. Lat/Long 50.6889, -1.9564; GR SZ 032 877
  • Accommodation/food:

    There is a National Trust cafe on Brownsea Island and plenty of picnic stops.

    Brownsea Island accommodation includes camping and staying in the fabulously located National Trust holiday cottages right by the pier

  • Island Summary:

    A walk around Brownsea Island follows easy paths through the island’s pine-woods, heathland, sandy beaches, meadows, lakes and lagoons which are all are crammed with flowers and wild creatures. It isn’t surprising that this island was voted the best nature reserve in the UK. Throughout this walk there are stunning views north and east to Poole and Sandbanks, and the Purbeck Hills and chalk stacks of Old Harry’s Rocks to the south. With plenty of access to beaches for swimming and exploring the foreshore, there is too much to do in a single visit

  • Look out for:
    • Spotting red squirrels in the pines and spoonbills on the lagoon
    • Swimming off peaceful South Shore
    • Spending a night under canvas in honour of the first scouts
  • Route description:

    This walk around Brownsea Island starts at the quay and passes the statue of Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, before entering the Dorset Wildlife Trust reserve with its hides offering a close-up peek at the bountiful bird life on the lagoons and the islands famed red squirrels. It continues through the pine woods to Pottery Pier, on the east coast, which is full of the ceramic fragments of the ill-fated porcelain works. Then, along the south coast the site of the original Scout camp still offers nights under the stars for Scouts, Guides and the public. From this stretch of coastline there are multiple access points to South Shore for a swim. The route returns to the visitor centre via a peacock-filled lawn in front of the church which is a great place for a picnic

  • Getting there:

    Getting to Brownsea Island – there are half-hourly boat service from 10am, departing Poole Quay (01202 631828/01929 462383)

    Closest islands nearby:

    Hayling Island 

    Portsea Island

    Thorney Island

     

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