Clovelly is one of North Devon’s jewels. A much visited privately owned village built into a 400ft cleft in the towering North Devon cliffs. Fascinating to visit on any day, Clovelly comes to life at one of their frequent events…the most recent being the Lobster and Crab Feast….
In its 10th year, the Lobster and Crab Feast celebrates the sustainable fishing of both crustaceans over the centuries by Clovelly fishermen. A highlight this year was the informative display from the National Lobster Hatchery from Padstow – you could even sponsor a baby lobster! Craftsmen demonstrated the weaving of traditional lobster pots and at the other end of the production line there were several options to sample either Lobster or Crab – we had divine Lobster salad eaten sitting on the harbour wall listening to mellow folk music – a perfect way to spend a Sunday.
This quaint little fishing village is characterised by its little white cottages and steep cobbled Main Street tumbling down to the tiny harbour sheltered by the robust 14th century two tier harbour wall. The Red Lion pub is conveniently located down at the harbour, along with the lifeboat station. For centuries this was a smugglers’ coast rife with wrecking and piracy. So the lifeboat has been a Clovelly institution since 1870 – the current boat is called Toby Rundle and all too often called out to rescue someone in distress.
Walking back up Main Street is quite challenging, however, there is a landrover taxi service for those in need of a little help. On the way up there are the distractions of Oberammergau Cottage with it’s beautiful German wood carvings surrounding the door frame, Kingsley Museum and tucked down a side street are St Peter’s Chapel and Fisherman’s Cottage all telling the story of life gone by for Clovelly residents (all of whom are tenants – there is a long waiting list to live in this little goldfish bowl!). If you’re lucky you might even see Tali of Owl Magic out walking with one of her Owls or you can book time with her to learn about her magnificent birds.
Whilst the lower section of Clovelly is definitely not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs, the upper section is. This is where you will find the famous Clovelly donkeys – used in the past to carry goods in and out of the village, now they are revered residents to be sponsored, groomed and photographed by visitors. Meanwhile the current human residents use sledges to drag goods in and rubbish out of the village by hand.
Alongside the Donkey stables are a few craft workshops displaying their wares and demonstrating crafting techniques.
The South West Coast Path crosses the upper section of Clovelly and is well worth exploring. The section heading north east is over Hobby Drive. Constructed in Victorian times, this is a gently meandering paved drive contouring around the cliff opening up spectacular views of Bideford Bay. Head in the other direction and you’ll pass through the grounds of Clovelly Court before hitting the steep climb down to Mouthmill beach, a peaceful little cove with excellent rock pooling at low tide.
Sad to have missed the Lobster and Crab Feast? Mark the first weekend of September 2017 in your diary for the next one, or consider another of Clovelly’s upcoming lively events such as Apple Day 28 Oct; Herring Festival 20 Nov; Boxing Day BBQ; New Year’s Eve Pirates Party….