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A view of the Poole Harbour sea framed by trees and with two people silhouetted in the centre at Brownsea Island, Dorset
There are great views to enjoy on Brownsea Island | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Brownsea Island viewpoint vistas walk

This beautiful, scenic tour of Brownsea Island’s best viewpoints offers spectacular seascapes, taking in neighbouring islands and the Purbeck Hills beyond, as well as local landmarks and history.

Total steps: 11

Total steps: 11

Start point

Outside Brownsea Island visitor centre, above Church Field - grid ref SZ 02779 87632

Step 1

Follow the path outside the visitor centre, heading up the small slope keeping the farm carts on your right. Stay on this track, which is part of the orange waymarked route, until you reach the clifftop and your first viewpoint.

View through the trees across Poole Harbour.
Beautiful view through the trees across Poole Harbour. | © Lynne Burningham

Step 2

Continue along the orange route and you'll come across two more viewpoints, with some great photo opportunities. There are steps down to the beach along this stretch, so if you fancy a detour head on down to the beach.

View of Purbeck Hills from Brownsea Island, Dorset
View of the Purbeck Hills | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Step 3

The path will head inland passing the Daffodil Field on the right, if you are here in springtime you may see some in bloom. At the junction of three paths follow the pink route on the left. There are lovely glimpses of Poole Harbour through the trees.

The exterior of South Shore Lodge, Brownsea Island
The exterior of South Shore Lodge, Brownsea Island | © National Trust / Robin Kitchin

Step 4

Keep following the pink route until you reach the turning to the Outdoor Centre, follow this track down to the buildings. You will see a gate at the far end of the campsite field near the taps, take this path and you will go past 2 large ponds on your right.

Pond surrounded by trees and bracken with blue sky above.
View over campsite pond. | © National Trust/ Lynne Burningham

Step 5

As you near the end path on the sea front you will eventually find some steps on the right hand side, climb the steps back up to the main track but remember to stop and look back to enjoy the views.

View of the sea through the trees.
View of the sea from the scout camp steps. | © National Trust/ Lynne Burningham

Step 6

Once at the top of the steps turn left and you will find your next viewpoint, shortly after this spot you will find another set of steps heading down to Pottery Pier. You can take another detour here.

View over Pottery Pier beach with a tree covered cliff in the background.
View over Pottery Pier beach | © National Trust/ Lynne Burningham

Step 7

Follow the pink trail from Pottery Pier to Maryland, There are a couple of benches on the seashore which are great picnic spots. You will now see Poole to your right.

View across Poole Harbour from Maryland beach with bench.
View across Poole Harbour from Maryland beach | © National Trust/ Lynne Burningham

Step 8

After you leave Maryland take the green trail on the left, this will take you to the final viewpoint which is up a small slope through the trees.

Rustic wooden swing bench hanging from a timber A-frame in the woods.
Rustic swing bench in the woods. | © National Trust/ Lynne Burningham

Step 9

Keep on the green route until you reach the blue trail, this will take you back through the centre of the island.

Child dangling from the monkey bars at the Natural Play Area
Soar, leap and play like a red squirrel at the Natural Play Area | © NTI Sophie Bolesworth

Step 10

As you keep on the blue trail you will see glimpses of the lakes to your left, these lie within the Dorset Wildlife Trust reserve. If you have enough energy the reserve can be accessed further along this stretch.

View across lake with blue sky and clouds above reflecting in the water.
The view across the lake in spring. | © Lynne Burningham

Step 11

As you reach the wall of the vinery the route changes to orange, to your left there are some wet woodlands with reedbeds behind. This is a good place to look out for birds, with woodland and wetland species nesting here in the spring.

Church Field, Brownsea Island, Dorset
Church Field | © National Trust Images/John Miller

End point

The Quay, Brownsea Island, grid ref SZ031876

Trail map

Map showing the Views and Vistas walking route
Follow this walking route for breath taking views right across the island | © OS maps

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Get in touch

Poole Harbour, Poole, Dorset, BH13 7EE

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We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

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