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Land Use and Sustainability

If Tresco had to be characterised by any one thing, it would be its extraordinary and beautiful natural environment. For both visitors and islanders alike, Tresco's sea and landscape are the very heart of the island. For almost 180 years, the stewardship of the Dorrien Smith family has maintained Tresco's natural beauty and their dedication to preserving it continues today.

Being an island community, Tresco is highly conscious of the need to care for the environment, and is committed to sustainable development. Tresco has received an award for its environmental business practices, and has formally signed up to the 10:10 campaign, committing to reduce its carbon emissions.

The estate is a member of the Higher Level Stewardship Agreement with Natural England, which is an agro-environmental scheme open to rural landowners and involves the care and maintenance of Tresco's Sites of Special Scientific Importance: The Great Pool, Castle Downs and the banks from Appletree to Blockhouse. Natural England's Environmental Stewardship funds work to maintain and enhance the island's wildlife habitats.


Tresco Farm

Tresco Farm is managed by Paul Christopher with his assistant Jake Newton. The farm is almost entirely focused on its beef herd. The herd consists of over 100 Limousin-cross cattle, which have around 160 acres of prime Tresco pasture to enjoy.

The farm produces silage and hay to ensure that the herd is entirely grass-fed, producing outstanding beef, which is available almost exclusively on Tresco. The quality of the stock and the meat is widely acknowledged, particularly by those at Truro Market, where the cattle have been achieving the very highest prices. Artisan butcher Philip Warren visited Tresco and was delighted and amazed by the Tresco herd.

He said: "Tresco cattle are of a quality rarely found. This can only be done by the skill and dedication of a true stockman. Paul Christopher is one of the top herdsmen I have ever come across."

The farm has recently been awarded "Red Tractor" status in recognition of the quality of its stewardship and animal welfare.


Tresco cattle are of a quality rarely found. This can only be done by the skill and dedication of a true stockman. Paul Christopher is one of the top men I have ever come across.

Artisan Butcher Philip Warren


The thoughtful and sustainable management of Tresco's waste and rubbish is incredibly important in maintaining our natural environment. Extensive waste separation is undertaken and Tresco has a full-time employee who is dedicated to the collection, sorting and disposal of waste material.

Waste bins on Tresco, both in public areas and for individual cottages, are colour coded:

  • Blue is clean glass & ceramics It is put through a crushing machine which breaks it up into small pieces. This is then used as aggregate for a number of building operations, such as road construction and repairs.
  • Green is for food waste Our food waste is currently deposited in specially constructed concrete silos. Here it is allowed to break down before being safely disposed of.
  • Red is for metal After separating any copper, all our metal waste is crushed into large blocks and shipped off to the mainland for scrap.
  • Yellow is for clean waste paper

In 2018, Tresco received received a European Regional Development Fund grant to construct a new waste processing shed. This new facility has enabled us to streamline our waste processing, increasing efficiency and helping us to increase out recycling rates - great news for our island and the wider environment.

Power and Heating

Attempts to minimise fossil fuel power usage are being incorporated into new developments. Our most recent project, the Sea Garden Cottages, exemplifies Tresco's committment to the environment. The cottages' water and underfloor heating systems are run by air source heat pumps. These pumps operate like a reverse fridge. Energy is taken from the air and then heated. Amazingly, the air can provide 75% of the energy required to heat one of our new cottages. The system now in place also cuts our carbon emissions.

As well as the Sea Garden Cottages, both the indoor and outdoor pools use heat exchangers to reduce energy consumption, and solar panels have been incorporated into the Flying Boat Club restaurant. Good insulation is an important part of our approach to reducing power consumption. All of our new cottages are designed to minimise heat loss through insulation and an insulation upgrade of all our traditional cottages has been completed.



The water supply for the island is from local wells and bore holes. To raise awareness of use, the majority of supplies to the business and residential premises are paid for on a metered basis.


Tresco & the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust

The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust is a local, independent charity that looks after more than 60% of the islands, restoring and maintaining habitats for the benefit of people and wildlife on Scilly.

In all, they look after just under 2,000 hectares (1,333 football pitches) of the islands – both marine and terrestrial habitats. Their work ranges from uncovering and maintaining archaeological sites to grazing the open spaces of the islands to keep vegetation under control. They organize beach cleans and educational activities to encourage people to care for these beautiful islands and work hard to keep the network of paths across the islands clear and accessible.

Throughout the season, Trust rangers are welcomed to the island to lead 'Wildlife Walks' to raise awareness of their important work and the beautiful natural environments on and around the islands. Tresco Estate also supports the charity through various fundraising opportunities.


Tresco & RSPB

Tresco is a special place to enjoy wildlife. It has heathland, farmland, scrub, dunes, wetlands and inter-tidal areas, as well as the famous Abbey Garden. Thousands of birds depend on its semi-natural habitats and benefit from the management and care of island staff and visitors. Some areas are so important that they are protected by law and form part of a network of designated wildlife sites on the Isles of Scilly.

The RSPB works with farmers and landowners such as Tresco, providing advice to conserve and celebrate some of the UK's most threatened wildlife. On any site, identifying and understanding the wildlife present is the first step in deciding conservation work priorities. On Tresco, surveys by the RSPB and others found that more than 180 hectares of important wildlife habitats support unique, rare or threatened plants and animals. There are more than 30 bird species of conservation concern, including breeding Kittiwakes, Oystercatchers and Ringed Plovers. Song Thrushes and House Sparrows nest in high densities. More than 1,600 water birds, including Gadwalls, Greenshanks and Little Egrets, visit the wetlands in winter, while Sanderlings and Turnstones are found on the coast.



There are no cars on the island. Tractors and a small fleet of vans and golf buggies serve the business transport needs. A number of estate vehicles- notably golf buggies - are electric. Bicycle and foot are the encouraged means of getting around the island.

Supported by The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in Rural Areas

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