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  • Tresco Abbey Gardens

  • Halangy Down

  • Porthcressa beach

  • Eurasian Oystercatcher

  • Tresco gardens

  • Bryther

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Tour Director

  • Explore the botanical and ornithological highlights of the tranquil Isles of Scilly in the company of expert ecologists

  • Visit the famous sub-tropical gardens of Tresco, home to a rich diversity of exotic plants

  • Take in archaeological sites, wetland birdlife and maritime-influenced vegetation

“Beautiful locations, expertly planned and managed tours each day, amazing hotel, rooms and food, leaders who knew almost everything and looked up the answers to the rest for us, and many good companions. My idea of heaven... this is possibly my best holiday ever.”

- ACE customer on the 2023 Isles of Scilly tour with Peter Exley and Diana Ward

More peaceful and relaxed than mainland Britain, Scilly embraces five inhabited islands and dozens of rocky outcrops, rich in sea birds.


The archipelago’s location and singular maritime micro-climate endow this Atlantic haven with great botanical and ornithological interest; with over 350 days of the year warm enough for plant growth, flora from the Canaries, South Africa, South America, Australia and New Zealand flourish across the islands, and a unique list of migratory birds finds a feeding refuge on the last outpost of south western Britain.


We will take in the islands’ late spring highlights, with a particular focus upon their flora, in the company of ecologists Peter Exley and Diana Ward. On coastal paths and nature trails, we will discover the exotic vegetation that makes these islands the subject of such great botanical interest. A particular highlight will be Bryher, the smallest community on the Isles of Scilly: the west and north coasts are wild and rugged with superb coastal vegetation and wind-pruned ‘waves’ of heather; the east, sheltered and mild, flourishes with exotic vegetation.


We stay at the comfortable and welcoming St Mary’s Hall Hotel on St Mary’s, a delightful hotel occupying an elegant townhouse originally built for an Italian noble family. Dinners will be taken at the hotel, which prides itself on sourcing fresh local produce.


Travel to and from St Mary’s is not included in the cost of this tour.


This tour will be led by Peter Exley, BSc, and Diana Ward, MSc, CBiol, MCIEEM. Peter is an ecologist and ornithologist who works for the RSPB, and has previously held posts with BirdLife International and the Albatross Task Force in South Africa. Diana is an ecologist and wildlife specialist: her company, Ward Ecology Ltd, carried out ecological assessment work, and she has worked for many years on Sites of Special Scientific Interest and river restoration projects.

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