Tresco is a small, family-owned island measuring about two and a half miles long by a mile wide at its broadest point. Tresco is one of the five inhabited islands which, together with 200 or so islands, islets and rocks, form the Isles of Scilly. Lying 28 miles south west of Land's End they enjoy a year-round mild climate; frost is extremely rare and springtime comes early.
In 1834 the Duchy of Cornwall leased the Isles of Scilly to a Hertfordshire Squire, Augustus Smith, who became the Lord Proprietor of the islands. He helped bring a prosperity to Scilly that is still enjoyed today. He built his home, Tresco Abbey, alongside the ruins of an old priory and set about creating a garden that was to become a world famous collection of plants from all over the world. Successive generations have carried out his work and Tresco Abbey Garden is now internationally renowned as one of the finest outdoor specimens of sub-tropical flora and fauna to be found in the Northern Hemisphere.
Today, Robert Dorrien-Smith, who, with his wife Lucy, runs the business as Tresco Estate, owns Tresco island and Hell Bay hotel on Bryher. Mr & Mrs Dorrien-Smith and family live in Tresco Abbey.
The main operating units of Tresco Estate include the New Inn, timeshare and rental holiday cottages, Gallery Tresco, Tresco Stores, Tresco Abbey Garden with the Shop and Cafe, Tresco Heliport, the farm, woodlands and island services. The Estate also owns Hell Bay hotel on the neighbouring island of Bryher, which was acquired in November 1999. Everyone who works in these departments is employed by Tresco Estate and are all part of a team led by Departmental Managers who report to the Island Management Board. Tresco Estate is very much a family run business and this reflects in the companionship, teamwork and friendly attitude of the island's workforce.
A community of about 150 people permanently lives on the island of Tresco and 80 on the island of Bryher, with a mixture of young and old alike. Some families have lived on the islands for many generations. On Tresco, there are a high percentage of young families and the island is considered a safe and secure playground for children of all ages.
Hell Bay is the only business on Bryher which is part of Tresco Estate and the other island residents are most proud of their independence. Each individual property is leased from the Duchy of Cornwall, many being small businesses, reliant on tourism to make a living.