Camping at Troytown Farm on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly offers a holiday experience like no other.
First impressions are truly wonderful. A small jetty politely perches on the end of the beautiful bay of Porth Conger. You see the turquoise waters and think you can’t quite believe that you are still in the UK.
The baggage handling is carried out by smiling locals who load up your belongings onto the back of their tractors to take them directly to Troytown Farm campsite, on the far side of the Island.
It’s really not that far. An easy fifteen minute walk past pretty cottages with fantastic gardens and exotic flowers that burst with colour. They give a dash of glamour to this otherwise down to earth and very natural environment.
You pass fields used to grow the bulbs and flowers that have made the Isles of Scilly famous. The fields are small, deliberately so to protect the crops from harsh westerly winds that can batter the Island.
You pass a small post office and then old coastguard cottages. Wherever you look you can sneak fantastic views of a startlingly rugged coastline.
You then reach Troytown Farm and the campsite on the far western side of the island.
The site is based around more small fields which snug tightly to the coastline. What you see before you is a constellation of uninhabited Islands and the Bishop’s Rock Lighthouse in the distance. Beyond them there’s the vast nothingness of the Atlantic Ocean.
Of course you are not alone. This is a popular campsite. But the constant presence of the sea and the vast panorama in front of you gives everyone a sense of space and peace. All campers seem united in the sheer wonderment of what they see in front of them.
There are of course facilities. There’s a small block with showers, toilets, and a washing up room. There is even a small laundry and the ubiquitous power sockets for everyone to charge up their phones and tablets. Wi-Fi is even available for those who wish to stay connected. It sometimes feels that these trappings are there just to remind you that you are not completely detached from life back home, such is the seductive power of this incredible location.
Circular walk to and from St Agnes campsite;
Immediately to the left of the campsite there’s Periglis Beach which is perfect for rock pooling, shrimping and splashing about.
Past the beach is St Agnes Church with its impressive modern stained glass.You are then surprised to see a cricket pitch – the venue for inter-island matches during the summer – with chamomile growing in the outfield.
Following the path northwards you hug the coastline until you are back at the jetty at Porth Conger. You pass the Turks Head, the UK’s most south westerly pub, and marvel at the view looking down at the calm waters below you.
You can then drop down to the sand bar, a short stretch of beach which is overrun and then swallowed up by the sea at high tide. Once the tide recedes you can walk around Gugh, a separate island only linked to St Agnes by this sandy umbilical cord. Amazing purple heather, two idyllic bays, and views from the north of Gugh are the highlights of this remote outpost.
Walking back over the sand bar you can take the path to Covean, a perfectly crescented cove which is sheltered from the buffetting westerly winds.
Continuing your walk you reach the pristine Beady Pool, named after the treasures supposedly found there in years gone by. You realise you are now on a promontory as just behind Beady Pool there’s another beach, this one called Porth Askin. Sands, rocks and a fantastic view of the Wingletang promontory all blend to make an idyllic place.
Wingletang’s rugged coastline and spectacular rock formations amaze you as you work your way back to Troytown Farm campsite. You can watch fulmar and gannets dive into the rocky seas to catch fish.
Although only a few miles in total, the walk can take up your entire day. Such is the beauty and calm of St Agnes, it seems time itself melts away.