Tuesday, 1 June 2010

A trip to Brownsea Island

Day 2 part 2. The day is not yet over. I got off the bus once we had landed back at Sandbanks, and lo and behold, there was another ferry waiting for me to board, couldn't have timed it better. So off I went to Brownsea Island.

A few months ago I saw Piers Morgan presenting a programme about Sandbanks, on the BBC iplayer, it is claimed to be the fourth most expensive place to live in the world. Some of the houses are worth millions, especially those which have their own landing jetty on the waterfront. I wondered if there was anyone famous at home. Worth a look I thought, nope, no sign of anyone sunbathing. I could do with one of those telephoto lenses then I could peer right into their living rooms, ha ha.

Our little ferry boat seemed to have attracted the army, who appeared to be in hot pursuit. Soldiers in camouflage were crouching in their boats, rifles at the ready. No shots were fired, just a lot of shouting, the boats whizzed by us, looks like good fun I thought.

Here we are arriving at Brownsea Island.

I discovered that this is National Trust owned and I had to pay a further £5.50 to walk around the island, on top of the £5 ferry boat ticket. I pleaded with the young man on the desk, 'I am a poor pensioner and don't have much money', but it didn't get me anywhere, I had to cough up or go back on the same boat.
Basically it is a nature reserve so I went walkabout. The church looks very nice, all neat and tidy. I'm not sure whether the parishioners would have to pay to come to the services.

Scouts and guides have summer camps here, this is a stone commemorating the first one.
This is one of the few places where you can see red squirrels, and I was lucky enough to catch sight of one. I was inside the visitor centre reading up on the history of the place, when I glanced out of the window to see a squirrel just the other side of the glass. They had attached a wire mesh box to the outside which had an opening for the squirrel to get inside and eat the food put there. A nice little bonus sighting for me.
The last ferry back left at 5pm and I made sure I was in plenty of time. Here it is just arriving.

I got on and another ferry pulled up alongside which was going to Poole. The lady with the hair down to her bum was driving our boat, I think it's great to see women doing unusual jobs. She told me she works 8 till 5.30 and goes backwards and forwards all day, with a 20 minute break, and she never gets bored. Nice job to have on a nice day.

Walking back to my car, I had a snoop around the back of some of the posh houses, They don't appear to have a garden at the back, just big gates straight into the garage. That wouldn't suit me at all, how awful to be squashed into a small plot with just enough room for the house.
Anyway, this is my house for the next two nights, the youth hostel at West Lulworth. It may not be flash, looking a bit like a big shed, but it's at the end of a quiet lane, and surrounded by green fields full of sheep. It's cosy inside, only me and two other people are staying, and I have a room to myself. Fantastic.


  1. An expensive but worthwhile trip. What a lovely place and I would want more garden than those houses cost!

  2. Despite my numerous holidays over the years in this area, I don't think I have ever visited Brownsea, or at least not that I remember.

    Those big houses do look a bit boxy for the money don't they.

  3. I think the National Trust IS a rip off in their entry fees and their cafes and their scones are exactly the same across the entire country - dry and hard and almost tasteless.

  4. A great travel blog! I read your writings ever day an so enjoy the down to earth feel of it.
    The Baden Powell stone is impressive, but I am not sure about the white houses ! The hostel looks very peaceful and a lot like may of the buildings up here in the North West of Scotland! Keep writing........

  5. What a lovely trip. I'm not a fan of the houses, give me a two up two down stone cottage any day, less cleaning and more character:)

  6. My wife and I were all packed up to go on the ferry to brownsea. I gave the £21 ferry price for 2 reluctantly to be told we would be stung for a further £15 to get on the island. So we cancelled the trip.national trust is now a filthy word in our household as locals can't afford to visit our own island. National disgust.

    1. Hi, I totally agree, the prices National Trust charge are far too high. It is expensive to join, not worth it for me as there are no properties within a reasonable travelling distance and I would not get my money's worth. They charge extortionate prices for their car parks too if you are not a member.