This village an amazing picturesque fishing village that epitomises the beauty of North Devon
Clovelly, North Devon
Clovelly, a scenic, time-honoured fishing hamlet, holds a unique charm and has an intriguing past, including being previously under the ownership of England’s Queen. From the Elizabethan era to the present day, Clovelly’s private ownership has allowed for the preservation of its authentic ambience.
Perched precariously on a 400-foot cliff, Clovelly foregoes the usual vehicular traffic for the charm of donkeys and sledges. A steep, cobbled pathway, known as either ‘Up-a-long’ or ‘Down-a-long’, meanders down to the historic fishing harbour and the quay from the 14th century. The descent reveals a charming landscape of cottages adorned with flowers, interspersed with quaint alleyways and winding lanes that offer more picturesque surprises. This historic village is a treasure trove of visual delight and exploration.
The famous cobbled street, painstakingly built from stones brought up from the beach, is a testament to human effort. Man-powered sledges are still used to transport goods, ranging from groceries to furniture, to the village. Although donkeys were once the primary mode of transport, they now delight children with summer rides in the meadow or pose for photos in the streets.
Famous literary and artistic figures, such as Charles Kingsley, Charles Dickens, William Turner, and Rex Whistler, have all left their mark on Clovelly. The village was home to Kingsley, served as inspiration for Dickens, was immortalised in the paintings of Turner, and was a frequent feature in Whistler’s works.
Numerous attractions and activities await visitors. You can watch a film detailing the village’s history, browse through a wide variety of souvenirs in the Visitor Centre, or observe skilled artisans crafting exquisite silks and pottery in the revamped stable yard. Take a guided tour of the village and visit two museums – the Kingsley Museum and the Fisherman’s Cottage – to delve deeper into Clovelly’s history and traditions.
Accommodation options in Clovelly include the 400-year-old New Inn, nestled in the village centre, and the 18th-century Red Lion located on the quay. Both offer scrumptious meals and traditional Devon cream teas. The Quay Shop on the harbour is perfect for grabbing take-away food to savour on the quay, while watching the harbour activities. Scenic boat trips along the breathtaking coastline are also available.
Once a thriving fishing port known for its herring and mackerel, Clovelly still retains fishing as a vital part of its identity. Today, its lobsters and crabs are renowned, being shipped to destinations as far as France and Spain. The coastline, once notorious for smuggling, wrecking, and piracy, has had its own lifeboat since 1870, providing safety to the seafaring community.
Clovelly also hosts a variety of annual festivals, such as the Seaweed Festival in May, Maritime Festival in July, Lobster and Crab Feast in September, and Herring Festival in November, all included in the admission charge.
For those not up for the climb back, a paid Land Rover service is available to transport visitors to the top of the village. There, you can explore the beautifully maintained Clovelly Court Victorian kitchen gardens, complete with vibrant herbaceous borders and restored Victorian glasshouses, located near the 13th-century All Saints Parish Church.
The village offers awe-inspiring vistas and lengthy cliff-top walks. The Hobby Drive, built post-Napoleonic wars to employ returning soldiers, meanders through woods, offering stunning views of the Clovelly harbour and Bideford Bay. On the other end, a walk along the dramatic North Devon cliffs towards Hartland Point presents stunning views of Angel
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The address for Clovelly, North Devon we have is: Clovelly, Bideford EX39 5TE, UK. Use the map below for a closer view. Do check with your host for a definite location.
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About the Author
Welcome to Bideford.com! I’m Matt, a seasoned explorer and avid fan of Bideford and the broader North Devon area. With over a decade of consistent family visits, virtually every weekend, I’ve immersed myself in the rich history and vibrant culture Bideford & North Devon.
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