Photo Opportunities -  Number 3

Brownsea Island, Dorset - By Brian Sharland

Brownsea Island nestles within the folds of Poole harbour and is reached only by ferry from either Sandbanks or Poole and is entirely National Trust property.  The Island is fairly small and can be walked around and reasonably explored in a day, you must remember that the last ferry leaves at 6pm summer and earlier, I think, off season.  It is heavily wooded and usually full of Boy Scouts of assorted size and nationality.  Most of these can be easily avoided by not going anywhere near the Baden-Powell commemoration stone on the south coast of the island.  The north coast is not open to visitors because it's importance as a nature reserve.  It is also the only place in England where it is comparatively easy to photograph Red Squirrels.  I say comparatively because they are extremely shy creatures and are best seen mornings and evenings when the island has less visitors.  With a bit of patience and long lenses the keen wild life photographer will be able to get rare photos of these beautiful creatures.  Our party of 11 including 7 boisterous and active children managed to see two as well as an even more shy Siku deer!

Part Of The Harbour        -             Heather On Heath-land

Beach On The South Coast
       -        South Beach Looking West

As well as extensive woodland the trust are trying to encourage an area of heathland.  This will attract more butterflies and insects as well as flowering plants.  The nature trails are nice and well mapped with guiding leaflets available at the NT office.  There are different versions including History, nature and treasure hunts for the kids!  The amount of waterfowl on the island is incredible with the lagoon on the east of the island (by the harbour) being full of birds when we were there in July.

As to landscapes, I was impressed by the differing viewpoints obtainable around the island.  OS maps (Outdoor Leisure No 15) clearly mark two views as well as the paths & trails and is worth buying or borrowing.  I liked the heathland and South beach for my shots but Branksea castle has some interesting architecture and angles.  Wildlife, waterfowl, beaches, woods, heaths and sea!  What more could a photographer want?  A Boy Scout filter?

HOW TO GET THERE:  Simple!  Ferry from either Poole or Sandbanks through Bournemouth.  I don't recommend swimming!

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April 2014
Sophie Martin-Castex


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