(Above) Birds on Brownsea Island lagoon (below) Sika deer & Red Squirrel on Brownsea Island © Jane Adams
Brownsea Island, owned by the National Trust, has been declared Britain’s favourite nature reserve by the BBC Countryfile awards. Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) has leased and managed half the island as a nature reserve for over 50 years.
DWT manage an impressive 101 ha (256 acres) nature reserve with an internationally important wildlife-rich lagoon, for the benefit of wildlife and enjoyment of people. Visitors can expect an up-close encounter with a variety of birds, including avocet and black-tailed Godwits, which winter here in internationally important numbers.
DWT’s Reserve Manager, Chris Thain said, “We are absolutely delighted to have been selected for this award. With the National Trust, we have worked very hard to clear the rhododendron smothering and threatening wildlife across the island. Since DWT started managing their reserve in May 1963, an estimated 48 football pitches worth were removed by 10,000 volunteers, working over 40,000 volunteer days. Thanks to this work and the work of the National Trust, through the joint Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, Brownsea Island has become a haven for wildlife, for both wildlife and people to enjoy.”
"Among Dorset's many natural gems" says Simon King
Wildlife film maker and president of the Wildlife Trust’s, Simon King, visited Brownsea Island in 2011 to officially open DWT’s restored Macdonald hide. After hearing the news that the island had been voted Britain’s favourite nature reserve, he said: “Among Dorset’s many natural gems, Brownsea Island is a real diamond. It hosts a wealth of wildlife in any season, from the great flocks of avocets in winter to charming red squirrels all year round. All in all, an atmosphere of splendid isolation!”
A great time to visit!
Winter is a particularly spectacular time to visit Brownsea Island, as the lagoon provides habitats for flocks of over-wintering wildfowl and waders. As well as birds, the reserve provides a home to 950 beetles and bugs, and over 740 species of butterflies and moths. Brownsea is also a haven for red squirrels and only one of a very few places in southern England where they still survive.
Click here for more information about visiting the reserve, opening times and events
Dorset Wildlife Trust: For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.