New sensory backpacks on offer at Brownsea Island to enhance SEND experience

NEW backpacks that enhance the experience of visitors with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are now free to hire at Brownsea Island.

The National Trust team at the attraction has recently unveiled eight sensory backpacks, which have been developed with the support of a charity called Diverse Abilities and SEND in Museums.

They have sensory activities and fidget elements that can be useful resources for families and schools on a self-led visit. They have two themes, woodland and beach, with activities using the senses to explore nature.

In addition to the SEND backpacks, Brownsea’s summer of play season running over the school holidays season is packed with lots of fun activities.

There is an interactive sensory trail where families can learn about minibeasts, including a sign language board, where you can learn how to sign the names of lots of different bugs.

There is also a natural play area on the island, with a red squirrel-inspired agility course featuring balance beams, climbing frame, obstacles, see-saw and den-building space.

Free family trails, featuring scouting, tree climbing and nature are available from the Visitor Centre and Outdoor Centre.

Dania Schmitz-Vaughan, senior volunteer and communities officer, said: “We see so many families enjoying exploring the island. The trails are a great way to discover how special Brownsea Island really is.”

The backpacks are free to hire and can be booked by phone 01202 707740 or by emailing

Brownsea island is open every day until October 29, from 10am to 5pm. For more information, log on to

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