Get back to nature on Brownsea Island
Fresh air is a daily essential right now. And where better near Poole than Brownsea Island? We are happy to announce the ferry is back in business and there is so much to see and do.
the summer months the resident population of rare red squirrels are usually occupied with raising their young in their nests called dreys which look like dense balls of interwoven twigs (roughly the size of a football), lined inside with soft materials including moss, leaves, grass and fir. Adults can be spotted scurrying across the woodland floor or leaping between trees high up in the canopy. If your very lucky you may even spot some young kits playing or peeping out from their nest box.
Young explorers can tread in our squirrel’s paw prints by heading to the new natural play area and learn to leap, balance and play just like the reds. The woodland playground replaces the old natural play area in a new location to help with regeneration of the land. It includes a range of play equipment made from natural resources and is designed so that children can try their hand at some of the balancing, climbing and jumping that the island’s resident red squirrels can often be seen doing. It includes balancing beams, see-saws, climbing frames, obstacle courses and den-building.
Families can also pick up a ‘50 Things to do before 11 ¾’ leaflet when they arrive and venture off into the island ticking off their activity lists.
For those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle, the island has a new wellbeing trail – the Calming Cambridge woods walk, which takes visitors deep into the far-flung pine scented woodland at the western end of the island. The trail meanders through Scott and Maritime pine trees, opens out with clifftop views towards Poole and across the Purbecks and onwards to a clearing where visitors are invited to lean back in a canopy gazing chair and admire the phenomenon known as ‘tree crown shyness’ – where the canopies of different trees grow together creating web like patterns, but never touch.
‘It’s fantastic to be welcoming back visitors to the island, to ensure social distancing can be safely carried out, everyone visiting must book both their ferry ticket and admission pass in advance the day before you intend visiting’ said Visitor Experience and Volunteering Manager Olivia Gruitt, ‘The island is a hive of activity with insects buzzing, the heather in bloom and woodland wildlife to be spotted. We’re really keen to share all this activity with visitors once again.’
Olivia added: ‘We’re really excited to be able to share the new natural play area with visitors. We’re inviting children to swing and soar like a squirrel – get outdoors and have a real adventure in the woods.’
Brownsea island is open every day from 10am – 5:30pm.
Access is via foot ferry from Poole Quay only. (The Sandbanks Jetty service is suspended.)
- The Brownsea Island Ferry (yellow ferries) depart Poole Quay every hour on the hour from 10am – 2pm.
- All visits must be pre booked via the website.
- Each visit is 3.5 hours including the ferry ride.
- Tickets include ferry and admission. NT members will only be asked to pay the ferry fare.
- The Villano Café and Engine Gift shop are both currently closed.
Brownsea Island is dramatically located in Poole Harbour, with spectacular views across to the Purbeck Hills. Thriving habitats including woodland, heathland and a lagoon create a unique haven for wildlife, such as the rare red squirrel and a wide variety of birds, including dunlin, kingfishers, common and sandwich terns and oystercatchers.
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