The Island of Bryher
‘By its configuration and its position, Bryher has more variety than any of the islands. Low on the water, open to the Atlantic on the west, it is a series of small granite hills from Shipman Head Down to Watch Hill, Timmy's Hill, Gweal Hill, Samson Hill, joined by curved hollows which give the island an exquisite felicity. The felicity is strengthened perpetually by sharpness.’
- The Scilly Isles by Geoffrey Grigson, 1948
So where are we?
Bryher (‘place of hills’) is the smallest of the five inhabited islands of the Isles of Scilly, measuring just two kilometres in length and about one kilometre at its widest point. It lies just to the west of Tresco and to the north of Samson, and it’s possible to walk (wearing wellies!) between the three islands during the spring tides. The centre of Bryher is mainly low lying with arable fields, pasture and houses and is where most of the population of about 80 lives. There are lots of shell-strewn sandy beaches to enjoy on all sides. We are situated on the west side of the island, overlooking Great Pool. The island has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and because of its rare plant life, has three Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
The island is virtually traffic free, and is criss-crossed by footpaths and tracks. There is a small shop and post office, tea room, church and England’s most westerly (and probably smallest) bar, the Fraggle Rock. During the summer months, some of the locals put out small stalls in front of their houses selling all sorts of local produce, from fudge to Bryher crabs.
“It seems hard to believe that Hell Bay earned its name because of the furious, crashing rollers that hurtle in from the Atlantic, battering passing ships. As I stare out across the gleaming rocks the sun is just starting to set, firing gold streaks across a sky fading from cobalt blue to a hazy, sweet-pea pink. The sea has that translucent end-of-the-day glow as it lazily folds back and forth across the sand. I perch on a rock, close my eyes and revel in the sense of having stopped, of having reached the end of my journey. The end, as it feels when I open my eyes, of the world.”
- Annabelle Thorpe, The Guardian