Ice Cream & Golf, Ecology & Innovation – Coastal Revival Report for Brown’s Golf Course

13 July 2020
Claire Hector

The story of one of the Island’s best-loved attractions is now available for free to anyone who wants to dip into its 80 years of fascinating history.

Browns Golf Course was created by Alexander Kennedy, the owner of a famous chain of London sausage and pie shops. An astute businessman, Kennedy (known as ‘Brown’), was a regular visitor to the Island and soon recognised the commercial potential of the land at Sandown, both the boating lake and the land that was to become Brown’s golf course. He recruited his London neighbour, celebrity professional golfer Henry Cotton, to design the first course and play the first round at the grand opening of Easter 1932.

The rise of Brown’s in the years that followed, its requisitioning in 1942 by the War Office for the top secret PLUTO project that powered the D-Day landings, and its subsequent recovery, decline and rescue are all charted in a new conservation management plan commissioned by local community organization The Common Space. The work was supported by the Coastal Revival Fund, the Isle of Wight Council and Down to the Coast, the East Wight Landscape Partnership.

The Brown’s Ice Cream Works played a part in the PLUTO WWII story and is currently the studio for our eco-engineers and artists, Artecology

The report provides additional information on the rich ecology of the site and its associations with both the coastal landscape of Sandown Bay and the river valley wetlands of the Eastern Yar. Also included is the restoration of the listed Pavilion and its adoption by the fantastic Men In Sheds and the report captures the mix of wildlife, history and holiday fun that makes Brown’s such a special place.


Brown’s Cafe & Golf Course sits between sea and wetlands in Sandown… the science and arts festival Hullabaloo takes place here each year. This pandemic summer, we took the festival online but flags still went up in the real world, and between them and the Vipers Bugloss on the sea wall infrastructure, part of our Lost Duver rewilding project, Brown’s was full of colour.


The Common Space is based at Brown’s, with its partner organizations Arc Consulting and Artecology. Together they are behind many of the Bay’s local projects, including The Lost Duver rewilding, Discovery Bay calendar of free events, the Willow Walk and The Christmas Garden, as well as supporting the Hullabaloo festival, the Boojum & Snark microbrewery and the National Poo Museum.


Part of the Golf Course has now been transformed into wetlands and meadow, with ponds dug, wildflowers sown and a path cut through. Part of our Lost Duver project.

Nigel George from The Common Space said, “it’s fantastic to be able to celebrate the importance of Brown’s to the Island. It is a wonderful cultural institution of course, but it has become a hotbed of innovative local business activity too!  This same project is also creating a blueprint for the future, so that we can continue to build on the progress here and shape the next steps.  We see the conservation management plan as fitting very closely with the Isle of Wight Council’s Eastern Bay Regeneration Strategy and we are working hard to bring both to life here, for the benefit of the Island and Sandown Bay.”

Brown’s Café is home to The Campfire Sessions

You can find the Brown’s report on Issuu, at The Common Space – Browns Golf Course Conservation Management Plan and you can read the Eastern Bay Regeneration strategy there too, at


The Willow Walk, a nature trail created by Arc and The Common Space becomes a popular venue for our and others’ free events here in the Bay.