20. Scilly Isles: Tresco - 6 miles circular - OS Explorer 101


These Scilly posts don’t tell you how to get around the islands. That’s easy, it’s an island with clearly marked paths and walkable in the time between the morning boat from St. Mary’s dropping you off and the evening boat picking you up. What they do is tell and show what to expect along the way with bits of info. to help you enjoy the experience.


Where they drop you will depend on the tide. For this post I’ll assume it’s Appletree Bay, close by the famous Abbey gardens, set amongst the ruins of a Benedictine priory.

The café and toilet there may be just what you want before starting your hike, or you may want to explore the gardens with their red squirrels among the flora.


Frankly, there’s stunning plants to see along the perimeter of the estate for free, some looking scarily like triffids with thick arms and conical heads. What is also free is a fabulous museum with figureheads from local shipwrecks. The star is a carved section in the form of a Roman warrior from the stern of the Galleon Colossos, sunk off the island during a storm in 1798.

As often as not, you’ll be picked up for your return journey to St. Mary's at a different location called New Grimby, just north of your drop off. If so, it makes sense to start your walk south along the perimeter of the estate (the helicopter pad to your right) turning off and back up to the coast to Pentle Bay and beach as you pass an impressive square tower on your left. If you’re yearning for the sand at Appletree Bay, don’t worry, there are more impressive sands to come.


Coming to the west of the island you look over to dozens of other islands, the largest St. Martin's with its equally fine stretches of sand. Now it’s a walk on gloriously soft sand with few people about and the company of oyster catchers and gulls, maybe low flying swallows too.


A scramble over granite rocks brings you to another beach equally as lovely. Well worth settling down to take it in. Try a paddle and discover how cold the clear water is before risking a dip.

It’s much colder that the waters off the mainland and the shock’s been known to kill people foolish enough to dive in without acclimatizing. Think on taking a wetsuit.


This beach ends at Old Grimsby and the Ruin, a posh café surrounded by expensive chalets and the least ruin you’ll ever see. It’s not grim. The helicopter pad was a clue. Tresco is the Scilly Isle wealthier visitors tend to frequent. But don’t be put off. It’s a friendly place with a very good takeaway shack if the café’s full (it often is).