An accessible trip across Poole Harbour

Access Dorset member, and citizen journalist Kelvin recently made this beautiful film when he used the National Trust’s new accessible landing craft. Below the film you can read more about Kelvins trip to Brownsea Island.

Now we can all enjoy Brownsea Island

I have lived in Dorset for 60 years and have never before been able to visit Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour. Recently however my wife and I were able to get to the island via the National Trust’s new landing craft, called The Brownsea Seahorse which can take six wheelchair users and six carers at a time, departing from the boatyard at Sandbanks in Poole.

If you have walking difficulties you can tour the island with a guide on a Golf buggy tour.
The time spent on the island depends on the tides. We departed at 10.30am but had to leave at 2pm which was a shame as, not having been before, we would have welcomed more time to view the island.

We did manage to visit two out of the five bird hides though. Inside the hides there was a low window for wheelchair users to view from. It was really interesting and experienced Dorset Wildlife Trust volunteers were happy to share their knowledge.
If you have walking difficulties you can tour the island with a guide on a Golf buggy tour. These operate every day and depart every hour between 12 noon and 3pm. I used my normal electric wheelchair, making sure it was fully charged the night before, as the island is a mile long and just under a mile wide. If you are using one of the Golf buggies you should have no problems.

Also available to hire is an MT Push Wheelchair to travel over uneven terrain and there are plans to raise money to purchase an electric vehicle which would be fully wheelchair accessible so that all visitors can see the full extent of the island.

Most of the buildings on the island are accessible and there were accessible toilets by the entrance and in the Villa. Unfortunately the church is not accessible and I found the concrete ramp outside the Villa, home to the Dorset Wildlife Trust Information Centre, quite steep.

Apparently there are 200 red squirrels on the island. We saw two, but it may have been the same squirrel twice! We did however see lots of different species of bird, but the best thing I saw was a moth which looked like a log. I know I’m weird! We cannot wait to go again, but next time we will be more organised.

By Kelvin Trevett

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