remembrance of things past Oct 2007



The island is owned by the National Trust and has been conserved to offer Dorset Heathland to the West, conifer woodland in the centre turning to deciduous towards the East, where a shallow lagoon attracts many birds including avocets.

In autumn the heather can be as spectacular as you will find anywhere and great efforts are being made to stamp out the invading wild rhododendron which at one time threatened to strangle the indigenous flora and destroy the heathland where peacocks now strut. It was here to the West where barely 100 years ago Lord Baden Powell held his first boy scouts camp. It is astonishing to stand on the very spot and grasp the vision of the man and the great gift he gave to the young men across the entire world – a perfect setting for adventure now as then.

q A sika Deer feeds.


With the quiet passing of the last ferry boat and the low evening sun, sika deer emerge from the woods, dappled by the sunlight filtering through the branches and blending with their habitat ,nuzzling the undergrowth which earlier hundreds of visitors had invaded. Naturally timid, you can be sure you are being watched all the time and from the corners of ones vision you may sense silent movement in the shadows of the trees.

Brownsea Island has a colony of red squirrels which other than on the Isle of Wight is a rare incidence for

much of England. Along Poole’s grey stone quay side the local ferries offer trips to “Brownsea Island, home of the red squirrel.” For years we believed the emphasis should be “home of THE red squirrel” since we only ever saw one but in Autumn as the evening sun falls lower they appear like creatures from a child’s story book. Scampering over fallen branches in search of the ground food which has eluded them during the day. On a good day among the Scot’s Pine which provides their staple diet you may well lose count of the numbers running around on the

ground and there is a realistic danger of being pelted with fir cones from the branches above.

q Fir cones from heaven