Beautiful Britain: Clovelly, Devon

I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite a while now, almost a year come to think about it! It’s been languishing in my notebook all that time and now my mind is turning to Spring (yes I realised it snowed TODAY) I’m starting to think about trips out again.

Clovelly in North Devon is somewhere I’d been wanting to visit for every such a long time but finally got around to it last Easter when we took a short break in North Cornwall. You have to pay to get into Clovelly which kind of surprised me really (it was £17.75 for a family) but  it is still owned by one family and part of the entrance fee contributes to their ongoing building maintenance programme and thorough restoration work – everything is restored properly, like for like.

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The first thing you need to know about Clovelly is that it is steep. When I say steep, I mean STEEP! One of the first things you notice is the absence of cars. That’s because the main street is way too steep for vehicles and so for many centuries the main form of transport was donkeys. In fact, there still are donkeys that children can ride on in the summer months. Clovelly is still a busy, thriving village and so now all supplies, be it groceries or furniture, are transported by sledge.
See I told you it was steep.

In all honesty the walk down is way harder than the walk back up. I was fearing coming back up the hill but it’s downhill that takes its toll on your legs. For the less able (or the lazy) you can pay for a seat in a Landrover to take you down and back up again.

After the visitor centre and museum, there’s lots to see on the way down to the quay – craft workshops, little shops, a pub, old cottages, tea rooms etc so you can take a slow meander down. There are quite a few points where you can stop and take a breather, which if you’re anything like me, you might need! If you want to stay in the area, there are two hotels and some of the cottages also offer B&B.
The quay itself dates back to the 14th century as do lots of the cottages here, it really is like stepping back in time. The cobbled street was built from pebbles collected from the beach – that’s not a job I would have liked!  It was once a busy fishing port, known for mackerel and herring and although the fishing industry isn’t what it once was, it’s still part of Clovelly life.

The harbour is still a working harbour and fish can be caught by rod or line (fee payable), or from the local trawlers. From here you can also take trips around Bideford Bay or further out to Lundy Island.

You can have a nice break at the bottom and buy yourself an ice-cream as a reward for making it down without keeling over, before you start the ascent again! And if you’ve got time I’d definitely suggest popping into The Red Lion Hotel on the quay and having a light lunch or a swift half!

Clovelly is a really nice way to spend a couple of hours – it’s a completely unique place and is a real glimpse into the past, so steeped in history you can almost feel it!

6 Comments on “Beautiful Britain: Clovelly, Devon”

  1. It’s true. We rely so much on the Internet that we often take it for granted. We don’t realize how many things we do that are dependent on being online. You can choose to look at it at a different angle, though. The lack of an internet connection can force you to have more personal interactions with the people around you. You can also use the downtime to do old hobbies you have “forgotten” because of being preoccupied with the Internet.


  2. I also love a roast dinner, not too fussy what the meat is, as long as there’s plenty of gravy! I mean buckets of it! I always make my own but have used the Gravy Pots when I’ve run short of gravy and was very impressed (and I’m hard to please when it comes to gravy!) 🙂

  3. I went there years ago, probably a good 15-20 years ago and it was brilliant. It’s definitely on my list of places to go to again.

  4. What a pity that the owners of Clovelly have decided to put a typical ‘rip off’ visitors centre at the entrance to the village. Full of unrelated overpriced rubbish.

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