IOPCC Trip Report

Poole to Brownsea Island
12th April 2009


Easter Sunday 0930: Lake Pier car park. The sky didn’t look as promising as forecast. Six of us were preparing to be on the water at 10:00; two more, Barbara and Ian were already on the water, paddling round from their overnight camp, with their equipment stowed in their sea kayaks. We were also pleased to be hosts to Emlyn. He was on holiday from South Wales, and had sought us out through the wonderful IOPCC website. He was joining us on our trip in his Capella (his wife went shopping in Bournemouth with his wallet - good effort!).

Clive West organised this trip meticulously, as he did not want to be responsible for getting us stuck in the mud at low tide! The sky brightened as we prepared to launch (this included Ian and Hilary clearing my boat of wood lice - I must use my boat more!). Clive handed out laminated OS maps of the area which included our destination: Brownsea Island. Also included were the tide directions and speeds taken from tidal diamonds on the chart.

We set off on time, with the sun glittering on the water now. Conditions were calm and clear. We paddled straight across the end of Wareham Channel to the other side and headed south skirting the Arne nature reserve. This was very tranquil. Anchored ‘gin palaces’ were dotted here and there and impressive properties peeped out from the shore. We passed Long Island and the wooded Round Island and then headed east towards Green Island and Furzey Island, passing a colony of noisy gulls.

From Fitzworth Point we headed north-east, straight across to the west side of Brownsea Island. This was as exposed as it got with a mild head wind and some gentle bouncy water. The approach to Brownsea was inspiring - peaceful sandy beaches and pine woods. I was looking forward to my lunch only to be told by Clive that we had to paddle all the way round the island first!

Landing is forbidden on most of the north side and all of the east side due to nesting birds, including Oyster-catchers and Canadian geese of which we saw lots. Brownsea Island has been a designated nature reserve since 1927, now managed by the National trust. It is also famous for being the birthplace of scouting, with Baden Powell taking his first group there. The view of Poole on our left was not particularly attractive but the harbour was full of activity with sailing boats, cruisers, wind-surfers and skidoos.

As we passed Sandbanks and rounded the corner onto the south side of Brownsea the calm and tranquillity returned. With the island on our right hand side now and superb views of green mainland including the Purbeck hills in the distance. Despite my rumbling tummy the mood was relaxed and the temperature warm. Along the beach people were enjoying the holiday. Craig obviously still had some energy to dispel before lunch, as he did some Eskimo rolls.

Brownsea Island is a peaceful place with woodland, wetland and heath. It has a rich diversity of wildlife including Sika deer and the endangered red squirrel. We saw neither of these but were pleased to see wild violets during our trips inland to the virtual toilet.

We ate lunch in the sun on warm mossy ground on the southwest corner. The beach here is covered in old broken clay pots. These are left over from The Branksea Clay and Pottery Company which built a three storey pottery on the south shore over 150 years ago, employing two hundred people. The clay proved to be not good enough for fine pottery and terracotta chimneys were not profitable enough. The pottery closed down after five years.

Anxious not too leave things too late with the tide going out, we headed in a straight line back to Lake Pier. Four kilometres later we arrived back at 14:30, in plenty of time, much to Clive's relief!

This was a really pleasant trip with great company and helped along by good weather and delicious home baked cake thanks to Hilary, Ian and Barbara.

Clearing Fiona's boat of
stowaway woodlice!
Craig and John
Emlyn, Fiona and Clive Craig at Brownsea Island
John at Brownsea Island Oystercatchers amongst the pottery waste.
Barbara's winning entry into the Easter baking wars Entrants in an Easter Bonnet competition.
Barbara, Ian, Emlyn, Hilary,
Clive, John, Craig and Fiona


Pictures of the paddle are on the
Galleries Page.


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Report and pictures: Barbara Browning



Paddling on the Jurassic Coast