A new accessible landing craft, the Brownsea Seahorse, has been unveiled by the National Trust.
It will be used to help the trust realise a long-standing ambition, to make Brownsea Island accessible for wheelchair-users.
Brownsea Island general manager Angela Cott said: “We have been trying to find solutions to this challenge for a long time and it is truly fantastic to finally be able to offer access to all to come here and explore Brownsea Island.
“There is so much for everyone to make the most of and we are keen for all to be able to visit.”
The money for the new craft came from the National Trust’s coastline fund. Brownsea Seahorse will now offer a bookable service between Sandbanks and the island in Poole Harbour.
A National Trust spokesman explained that in the past the trust has worked with other boat companies but changes to boats and equipment have meant that for many years it hasn’t been possible to bring disabled visitors across the water.
“Thanks to the co-operation and support of the Sandbanks Yacht Company, Sandbanks, she will run a bookable service for wheelchair users on set days on a trial basis until the end of the season,” said the spokesman.
Full details and a schedule will be published on the National Trust’s website.
Chris Thain, Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT), said: “Along with the National Trust, DWT is delighted to welcome wheelchair users to the island.
“At this time of year the birds on the lagoon are such a fantastic sight, and its great to be able to share that with as many visitors to the island as possible.”
When wheelchair visitors arrive on Brownsea they will be able to explore the island either using their own wheelchairs or by borrowing one of the new mountain trikes from the National Trust.
The spokesman explained: “These manual wheelchairs (mountain trikes) cope well with our uneven terrain and are easy to manoeuvre across the undulating ground.”