Lakes and heath walk, Brownsea Island

Walking trail

Type of walk: 'Waterside Walks', 'Hidden Places'

Brownsea lakes and heaths walk

Starting and ending at the owl barn - a great picnic spot - this short walk passes through the Brownsea countryside, down Beech Valley, past our lily pond and skirts the remains of the old vinery. It takes you along the Island's Middle Street (on the edge of two lakes with Caledonian views in miniature), up Birch Valley and on to heath land.

Children and peahen walking in heather


Aerial view of Brownsea Island


Starting and ending at the owl barn


1. From the owl barn, head east through horse fields to the top of Beech Valley and then turn left down the path.

Read more
Heathland on Brownsea Island


2. You'll pass the lily pond on the left. Watch out for our rare and famous red squirrels.

Lily pond


3. When you meet Middle Street you'll need to turn left again, heading west, but first have a look at the remains of the old vinery.

Read more
Remains of the vinery buildings


4. Head up Middle Street, past the east and west lakes where freshwater runs off from the land. You'll also notice piles of chopped rhododendron which has been in the process of being cleared for the last 50 years.

Heathland on Brownsea Island


5. Turn left after the end of the second lake.


6. Walk past a plantation of broadleaf trees and notice areas of cleared rhododendron.


7. At the top of the slope you will arrive at the heath block, a critical habitat on Brownsea and one of the main reasons for our Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designation.

Read more
Information point on Brownsea Island


8. Turning left at the heath you'll eventually arrive back at the owl barn.


9. We hope that you really enjoyed this one-mile walk. The National Trust looks after some of the most spectacular areas of countryside for the enjoyment of all. We need your support to help us continue our work to cherish the countryside and provide access to our beautiful and refreshing landscapes. To find out more about how you too can help our work as a volunteer, member or donor please go to


Ending at the owl barn

You made it

Following this trail on mobile or tablet? Share your experience.

Lakes and heath walk, Brownsea Island


You will need to keep the dog at home for this one, access is by boat from Poole quay or Brownsea
jetty. This is an easy walk across reasonably flat areas of grassland and paths. In wet weather it is
advisable to wear sensible shoes/boots.

Lakes and heath walk, Brownsea Island

Contact us

Brownsea Island, Studland, Dorset BH13 7EE 01202 707744

Lakes and heath walk, Brownsea Island

How to get here

The owl barn, grid ref: SZ020877
By train

Poole, 0.5 miles (0.8km) to Poole Quay, then boat

By road

Car to Sandbanks, park on Panorama Road

By ferry

Ferry from Poole Quay or Sandbanks

By bus

Wilts & Dorset 50 Bournemouth to Swanage, alight Sandbanks; 52 Poole to Sandbanks

Lakes and heath walk, Brownsea Island

Facilities and access

  • Enjoy stunning views and delicious food in the Villano Café Browse in our shop for Brownsea Island gifts Take home a Scouts and Guides souvenir from the Trading Post Toilets located at Visitor Reception, the Visitor Centre at the Baden-Powell Outdoor Centre http://