A Charming Coastal Village in North Devon
Nestled on the rugged North Devon coast, Clovelly is a picturesque and enchanting village steeped in history and charm. With its cobbled streets, whitewashed cottages, and stunning views of the Bristol Channel, Clovelly is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an authentic taste of England’s coastal heritage.
History and Heritage
Dating back to the 11th century, Clovelly has been a thriving fishing village for centuries, renowned for its herring, mackerel, and lobster catches. The same family has owned the village since the late 13th century, and their commitment to preserving Clovelly’s unique character is evident in every corner of the village.
As you wander along the steep, cobbled streets, you’ll be transported back in time, surrounded by charming fishermen’s cottages adorned with colourful flowers and traditional thatched roofs. At the heart of the village is the historic 14th-century Clovelly Court, a magnificent manor house with beautifully maintained Victorian gardens.
The Harbour and Quay
The focal point of Clovelly is its picturesque harbour, flanked by imposing cliffs and offering stunning views of the Bristol Channel. Here, you’ll find a cluster of traditional fishing boats, a testament to the village’s rich maritime heritage. The historic quay, built in the 14th century, provides a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a moment of quiet reflection while watching the boats come and go.
Donkeys and Sledges
One of the most endearing aspects of Clovelly is its reliance on donkeys and sledges for transportation. Due to the steepness and narrowness of the village’s streets, motor vehicles are prohibited, leaving donkeys and sledges as the primary means of moving goods and people. The village’s beloved donkeys can often be seen resting in their stable, located halfway down the main street, while sledges glide effortlessly along the cobbles, transporting goods to and from the harbour.
Attractions and Activities
In addition to its historic charm and natural beauty, Clovelly offers a range of attractions and activities to suit all ages and interests. The Clovelly Visitor Centre provides a fascinating insight into the village’s history, featuring an audio-visual presentation and exhibits detailing the lives of past residents. For a more hands-on experience, you can join one of the guided tours, which includes a walk through the village and a visit to the Fisherman’s Cottage, a lovingly restored 18th-century dwelling showcasing traditional crafts and living conditions.
Nature enthusiasts will love exploring the surrounding coastline and countryside, with numerous scenic walking routes available, including the South West Coast Path and the Hobby Drive. These trails offer breathtaking views of the rugged cliffs, hidden coves, and lush woodland, providing ample opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.
For a truly memorable experience, you can even take a boat trip from Clovelly harbour, venturing along the stunning coastline to witness the dramatic cliffs, secluded bays, and abundant marine life up close.
Dining and Shopping
Clovelly boasts several delightful pubs, restaurants, and tearooms, where you can enjoy a delicious meal or a traditional cream tea, all while soaking up the village’s unique atmosphere.
The village is also home to a variety of charming shops and galleries, offering a range of unique gifts, crafts, and artwork inspired by the local area.
A Timeless Treasure
Clovelly is a true gem on the North Devon coast, offering visitors an unforgettable experience of England’s rich coastal heritage. With its cobbled streets, historic architecture, and breathtaking scenery, this captivating village is a timeless treasure that should not be missed.
Local Events and Festivals
Throughout the year, Clovelly hosts a variety of events and festivals that celebrate its unique heritage and vibrant community spirit. Among the most popular are the Seaweed Festival, Lobster and Crab Feast, and the Clovelly Herring Festival. These events showcase the village’s maritime history and offer visitors the opportunity to sample delicious local seafood, participate in workshops, and enjoy live entertainment.
Another highlight is the annual Clovelly Christmas Lights Switch-On, a magical evening filled with festive cheer, carol singing, and twinkling illuminations that bring the village to life during the holiday season.
If you’re planning to extend your stay in Clovelly, there are several charming accommodation options available within the village and its surrounding areas. The New Inn and Red Lion Hotels are both within Clovelly. Bed and breakfast options are also available nearby, so there’s something to suit every taste and budget. Many of these establishments boast stunning sea views and are within easy walking distance of the village’s attractions, making them the perfect base for exploring this enchanting corner of North Devon.
Clovelly is located approximately 10 miles west of Bideford in North Devon and is easily accessible by car via the A39 Atlantic Highway. There is a pay-and-display car park at the top of the village, from where a short downhill walk or shuttle bus will take you to the heart of Clovelly. The village is also served by local bus routes from Bideford and Barnstaple, making it an ideal destination for those relying on public transport.
Clovelly is a truly unique and unforgettable destination that offers a glimpse into a bygone era of England’s coastal history. Whether you’re strolling along the picturesque harbour, exploring the cobbled streets, or enjoying a delicious meal in one of the village’s charming eateries, you’ll be captivated by the magic of Clovelly. With its rich heritage, stunning scenery, and warm, welcoming atmosphere, it’s no wonder this enchanting village remains a beloved destination for visitors from all over the world.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to us at no cost to you if you decide to purchase the product or service. This site is not intended to provide financial advice and is for entertainment only.