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History of Brownsea Island

An aerial view of Brownsea Island and Sandbanks in black and white.
An aerial view of Brownsea and Sandbanks in 1968 | © National Trust Images

Dip your toe in the water with a brief history of the island below. And why not plan your own island adventure to discover more about the characters that have shaped Brownsea?

Brownsea Island: a potted history

Brownsea in the Iron Age

The Iron Age

Brownsea is the largest of the islands in Poole Harbour, which is the second largest natural harbour in the world.

Humans have been active in the local area since at least the Iron Age (750BC – AD43).  In 1964 two sections of a 33-foot Iron Age log boat were discovered just off Brownsea. Carbon-dating revealed that the log boat had been preserved by the marine silts for almost 3,000 years. It is now on display in Poole Museum. 


Carving the interior of a replica Iron Age log boat.
In 2013 this replica of the Iron Age log boat was built. | © National Trust Brownsea Island