Stretch your legs

There is plenty to discover here on Brownsea Island and, at a mile long and just under a mile wide, you can take in a range of habitats during your visit.

Brownsea is a magical place where people and nature happily coexist, wildlife is conserved, and the landscape is sensitively managed. In spite of its small size, Brownsea has a wealth of different habitats to explore, from a sheltered lagoon to open heath, seashores, grasslands and woodland, each boasting its own fascinating wildlife.

We have plenty of way marked walks for the whole family or more experienced rambler and winter is the perfect time to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the island.  You may even spot one of the elusive Sika deer or the rare red squirrel.

Brownsea Island walks

There are three main way marked routes across the island. Which one will you follow?
Brownsea Island Map
There are three main way marked routes across the island. Which one will you follow?


Our view points and woodlands walk (Orange route - 1 hour) offers stunning cliff top views across the Purbecks and can be the perfect spot for a warming spring time picnic. Wander along South Shore beach and you'll be amazed to find old pottery pieces that remain from the days when Brownsea had a pottery factory.  Venture further on the Scouting and Maryland walk (pink route 35 mins) to what remains of the old village and imagine the thriving community that once lived there.

Found a piece of pottery along South Shore beach? It's a remnant from the pottery factory that once stood on Brownsea.
Brownsea Island pottery in 1891
Found a piece of pottery along South Shore beach? It's a remnant from the pottery factory that once stood on Brownsea.

Ramble across the heath block on the Heathland walk (blue route - 40 mins) where you might spot some Japanese Sika deer,  some of whom will be pregnant following the rutting season last year.  If you’re quiet, you will spot them grazing as they take on board as much food as possible during the early part of the year.

Red squirrel on Brownsea Island
Red squirrel Brownsea Island
Red squirrel on Brownsea Island

You can also join one of our daily, free introductory guided walks to introduce the history and wildlife of the island.  Walks start near reception at 11:30 and 2pm and last about 45 minutes.

Our Visitor Centre is a great place for a pit stop.  Head in and chat to one of our friendly volunteers and learn about the wildlife on the island and the important work we are doing to conserve this special place.  Take a seat and warm up in our cosy corner and pour over one of our many history or wildlife books.  You can also pick up one of our free family trails or a '50 Things' booklet.