A Guardian journalist has said that an Easter break in the Isles of Scilly has shown how children thrive away from busy traffic.

Patrick Barkham, who stayed on St Martins with his three children - four-year-old twins and a two-year-old - described the islands as ‘a rural idyll of the kind that vanished from mainland Britain in the last century: sparrows chirruping from every bush, roadside stalls with open money boxes selling free-range eggs and everyone saying hello'.


He said that the trip was transformed by being able to cast aside a fear of traffic, revealing that he did not worry for the safety of his children when they were out of sight or ‘whether their lungs were clogged with diesel particles’.


'I had no idea small children could walk so far,' he wrote. 'We skipped three miles one day and two miles the next, albeit incentivised by fish and chips or ice creams. At night, the children fell asleep like well-exercised puppies.'


The magic of Scilly really hit home on the journey back when a freak hailstorm turned the M5 into an ice rink and Barkham missed a nasty accident by seconds.


“Driving at 70mph in a noisy, delicate metal box suddenly looked crazy," he wrote:


"We have embraced this madness (even car-eschewing environmentalists depend on motorised transport for food and other pleasures) because these amazing machines give us unprecedented freedom. For this, we have traded the liberty of our children."


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