Published: Friday 20th Nov 2015
Written by: Betheny Ellis
There are hidden gems and then there is Clovelly. Nestled into North Devon’s craggy coastline hides this beguiling living museum, come fishing village. From as far back as the 13 Century Clovelly has been associated with only three families, remaining under private ownership to this day, which has ensured fine preservation of this magical place.
Good calf muscles are required for its car free lanes and cobbled streets, but whether going ‘up along’ or ‘down along’, you will certainly be charmed at every corner. Clovelly has a tranquil and somewhat otherworldly feel, it is a place to escape, to step away from the rat race and really slow down. The houses, streets and scenery are steeped in a history begging to be explored and with a fascinating and well rated tour on offer, it's recommended you get yourself signed up to find out all the interesting snippets about this intriguing village. Enjoy stories of Crazy Kate, Temple Bar Cottage, the lime kiln and why there are so many Donkeys about the village.
With only man powered sledges transporting goods along its cobbled hills, a job once undertaken by tireless little donkey hoof steps, Clovelly is a wonderful place to peacefully meander, ensuring your walking boots see plenty of action. Once you have exhausted the streets, take your walking shoes over to Hobby Drive, a pretty cliff top walk offering stunning views over Bideford Bay and back towards Clovelly. In the opposite direction a strenuous but rewarding 10 mile walk will take you across woodland, barren pastures, dramatic cliff tops, cascading waterfalls and rocky outcrops to Hartland Quay. Here a rewarding beer can be drunk whilst you inhale the outstanding view.
Back to Clovelly and its intoxicating charm. Fishing having been the mainstay of village life for generations, it is not surprising that a fishing festival takes place here every year. Visit in September for the Lobster and Crab festival or November for the Herring festival. Both occasions see the fruits of the sea being celebrated in style! November’s Herring festival is a particular favourite which sees the silver darlings being celebrated to promote all their delicious and nutritious benefits, to raise funds to support managed fishing areas and the fisherman who fish them. All the usual suspects give their lungs an airing, with sea shanty’s being the soundtrack to the day’s events. Dishes are cooked up on the quay with entertainers, cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts stalls, face paints and all manner of merriment make the day go by in a cheer and a whir. Certainly worth a visit.
No need to think all the entertainment happens in November; if you have selected to visit North Devon around Christmas, then a visit to Clovelly to gaze in wonderment at the lights which twinkle in the trees, around houses and over lamp posts will not leave you feeling disheartened. A brass band leads the actual ‘Switch on’ and is another event on the Calendar which sees a good turnout from locals and visitors alike, adding another dash of fairy tale to this picture postcard village.
Maintaining this hidden jewel and to to keep it as a cherished idyll costs money and time, as such there is a small admission fee to visitors coming to Clovelly, but we think it's more than worth it. May this idyllic mainstay of Devonshire life, live on unchanged.