An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

Brownsea Island, United Kingdom
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:

    National Trust cafe; plenty of picnic stops. Have a night under the stars where the first scouts set up camp 100 years ago, contact National Trust to book

  • Island Summary:

    A nature lover’s paradise on a secluded island with pine-framed views of the opulent Sandbanks and the yachty mayhem of Poole Harbour.

  • 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:

    Easy paths that meander through a wide variety of landscapes, and the island’s pine-woods, heathland, sandy beaches, meadows, lakes and lagoons are crammed with flowers and wild creatures. It isn’t surprising that this island was voted the best nature reserve in the UK. All around the 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

  • Getting there:

    Half-hourly boat service from 10am, departing Poole Quay (01202 631828/01929 462383) and Sandbanks (01929 462383).

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