For more photos click the link.
Brownsea Island – DR working with the National Trust & Dorset Wildlife Trust during 2018 to make the Island more accessible for scooters, wheelchairs, powerchairs, etc.
Early in 2018 DR was asked to assist in a photo shoot organised by the National Trust in an effort to publicise the existence of a new disabled friendly ferry called the Sea Horse specially provided by the NT to enable people on scooters, power chairs, wheel chairs etc to be able to go to Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour – a trip which until now, had been impossible for us to achieve. Bob and I went over in June and spent an enjoyable day being photographed and taken around the Island, the ferry is totally dependent on tides and you can’t afford to be late or you may end up having to stay on the Island for the night! This is the link that tells you all about the ferry and what you have to do to book it etc. During the Winter the opening times of both the ferry and the Island are changed, and both actually close down for part of the winter to allow for repairs and upkeep, so please check that they are actually open before travelling: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brownsea-island/features/accessible-brownsea
We went over again on August 1st with Linda & Peter, who most members of DR will know, to celebrate their wedding anniversary and had a really super time, and explored many secret paths with them and had great fun. It is a lovely Island and the NT does a lot with scouts and girl guides and so on, so there is plenty of activity there. An idyllic place for a young person to gain a real love of the countryside and associated wildlife.
This month, September, four of us went over at the invitation of the Dorset Wildlife Trust who lease almost half of the island from the NT as a nature reserve. It was mainly to help them to improve the disabled access with such things as wooden ramps to the hides, the boardwalk etc. At present, it is not possible to use their ramps to gain access to the hides without a lot of difficulty and extreme maneuvering. 10 point turns for example! There is a big improvement plan in the pipeline to provide a new Visitor Centre in keeping with the tranquillity of the reserve, nothing garish or blatant but something that will blend in with the surrounding area and be accessible for all. We were able to point out that anything as big as a Tramper would need more space to negotiate the twists and turns on some of the ramps and hopefully this information will be put to good use when the plans come to fruition. This part of the island is much quieter and is primarily a wetland nature reserve with a large lagoon with many sea birds on it, such as: Little Egrets, Herons, Avocets, Terns, Curlew Sandpipers (fairly unusual), Curlews, Cormorants, several species of Gulls, many species of ducks and many more. A Peregrine Falcon was in residence as well, but he was resting at the base of the sea wall and not actually flying. We had a super time in the Hides watching all the birds and a Volunteer, Malcolm, gave us a very useful commentary of what they all were. There was also a good variation of woodland and more well known garden birds around us too and much to our delight the little red squirrels were scampering around as well. We were accompanied by Johnny, one of the Rangers, who gave us a lot of information and made the day very interesting and worthwhile. Time goes so quickly on Brownsea and in no time our 4 hours were up and we had to make our way back for the ferry for 3 o’clock. If you can, to go over and see this magical Island, we do hope to do a DR ramble next year but it will be limited numbers – probably about 10 only – so do keep an eye on mailings from our Chairman re regional rambles if you want to come along. (Val)