Friday 9 October 2015

Brownsea Island aka Kirrin Island

One of our children loves Enid Blyton's Famous Five series so on our trip to Dorest we visited Brownsea Island. Brownsea Island is one of five islands in Poole Harbour and one of the places reputed to have inspired Enid Blyton's Kirrin Island which plays a large part in several of the Famous Five books. It is also reputed to have been the source for her Whispering Island.

There is debate about the origin of Kirrin Island. Some suggest that it is based on Corfe Castle and the Isle of Purbeck. My personal view, and I'm no expert on the subject, is that the description of Kirrin Castle is closer to Corfe Castle than Brownsea Castle but that Brownsea Island could well have inspired Kirrin Island!

Brownsea Island is approached by boat. No, we didn't row but went in the standard commercial boat to the island.

The crossing takes 20 minutes out and double that back. This is due to the shipping lanes in Poole Harbour and the tour around the other four islands within the Harbour.

Brownsea Island is fantastic although my youngest was disappointed to find that the trees don't whisper. Perhaps, there wasn't enough wind or perhaps, the relevant trees have been cut down.
It is one of the few places in England where red squirrels can be found and we found a bush which evidently had a great attraction for green finches. 

On the downside, it does have resident free range chickens and peacocks who took a great interest in our picnic. No, we didn't have ginger beer and spam.

We wandered round. 

There were plenty of views of the sea. Remember those times when the Five were watching for boats from the Island?

There is a Natural Playground with a dugout from a trunk, a wooden racing car, piles of logs and a wooden castle. Probably, the sort of thing that Julian and Dick would have built.

On the way back, we saw cormorants and the four other islands. These are now homes to millionaires and oil wells. Surely, Enid Blyton could have made an adventure from these?

Thank you to Middle Son for the four larger photos.

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  1. My kids have devoured those books! Thanks for all the pictures. It makes it all seem so much more real. You don't know how blessed you are living where you do.

    1. Thank you. We have so many opportunities for field trips here although I like the thought of some of the Canadian sites!

  2. I loved famous Five when I was a kid. My children never quite got into them in the same way. I had no idea that Kirrin island was based on a real place :)

    1. It was quite easy to imagine what scenes from the books when we were standing on the Island.