When I wrote about the boat trip to Brownsea Island, (the post can be seen here: http://tinyurl.com/lu3tqs3 ) I refrained from taking you on a guided tour around the island itself, because I didn’t want to spoil it for you. But with the glorious summer that was 2013, I figured you are bound to have been, so I won’t ruin the surprise this little pocket of paradise has to offer.
After the fun of the boat trip across the bay, you step onto a wooden jetty then into the National Trust reception area to either show your pass or pay your due as you pass through the gateway to the island.
Your first port of call is likely to be the lavatory – well worth a visit given the only other loo is on the other side of the island!
You may decide to visit the bird hide or the wildlife reserve, however if you have young children this may not be so popular as it requires a certain level of patience, quiet and perseverance, three words not often found in a child’s vocabulary!
The likelihood is you will stop for your picnic lunch on the huge green that is a bit further on. Plenty of space for a picnic and energetic children who will doubtless take great pleasure in chasing the Canada geese and peacocks that hang around the area ever hopeful of a few crumbs!
After your lunch, head off either to the left or right. Most go to the left, must be something in our psyche that makes us do everything in a clockwise motion!
This summer they had the 50th anniversary celebration of the Brownsea Island Open Air Theatre http://www.brownsea-theatre.co.uk/ A wonderful form of entertainment if the weather is reasonable, so everyone was sure to have enjoyed it this year!
You are bound to find the official scout encampment (where you will find the other loo if you’ve been hanging on) with scout shop and island information. There is also the huge Scout Stone that commemorates Robert Baden-Powell.
If you go at a time when the camp is empty and the area quiet, you may well see one of the island’s more timid inhabitants, the red squirrel.
The ‘Pining for you’ project is a clever bit of artwork. Mike Fletcher was inspired by a message of love that had been carved into a tree and he along with ‘Unlocked’ – a group of Dorset youngsters, created ‘Heart Wood’; a modern interpretation of the more traditional carving of initials in a tree.
As you walk back towards the harbour, you will find St Mary’s church, a charming Victorian church that has that same ‘happy’ feel about it that is not only the philosophy of the island but seems to exude from every corner of this beautifully preserved little corner of England.