Donkey Stables

Friendly Clovelly Donkeys Clovelly Donkeys feeding Clovelly Donkeys at the Quay

A North Devon attraction not to be missed!

Mention Clovelly to most people and they’ll straight away say ‘donkeys’. Without its donkeys, the village could never have been a successful fishing port, for it was these sturdy little beasts that carried the heavy baskets of herring up the narrow cobbled street from the harbour to the carriers’ carts. Fitted with special pack saddles, they also brought in fuel, building materials, food and drink, and the post – and carried out the rubbish. Then, when Clovelly became a much favoured West Country tourist destination and its two hotels a popular choice for holidays, the donkeys carried luggage and visitors to and from the Red Lion and the New Inn.

Today the donkeys enjoy a more restful existence, giving rides to visitors’ children during the summer months. But the villagers continue to transport heavy loads on sledges.

When you walk down the path from the Clovelly Visitor Centre you can often see the donkeys in their meadow at the top of the village or, if you look closely, you may spot them in the woods amongst the trees during winter. Make sure you pose for a photograph with them if you meet them on the cobbles. It will make a unique addition to your family photo album!

Sue and Bart Kelly own and look after the donkeys. You’ll find the picturesque old stable just beyond the craft workshops, and sometimes you can see the donkeys there. It is over a hundred years old and was built for the horses that pulled coaches and carriages up and down the North Devon lanes in the days before the motor car.

Get involved with Clovelly’s donkeys

If you are looking for fun things to do in Devon, and you are keen on donkeys, Sue and Bart run courses from January to June. These are all part of their mission to encourage people to have fun with donkeys, and to improve the general standard of donkey-keeping. So why not come along and take advantage of a hands-on day-long course in basic donkey care and management? You and your children might also wish to adopt a donkey for a year for a modest sum. You’ll be given an adoption certificate and have your name on a plaque on the door of your donkey's stable.

The donkeys are a must-see part of any family visit to Clovelly. So come along soon to meet them. The donkeys love the attention and your children will be entranced and enthralled.

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