Clovelly named in best road trips in the UK, by Ashley Gilmour

The Atlantic Highway spans 134 miles across North Devon and North Cornwall. Passing fishing villages, beautiful coastlines and some of the rural South West’s finest scenery, this epic driving route is often overshadowed.

Though it technically begins in Barnstaple, the A39 actually stretches all the way along the coast north of Devon into Somerset. The tree-lined Exmoor cliffs at Lynmouth and Porlock can be enjoyed on this route, before joining up with the official Atlantic Highway in North Devon. Rick Turner of Visit North Devon & Exmoor said: “The Atlantic Highway is the perfect choice for a road trip in North Devon, showcasing idyllic landscapes and seascapes alike as you travel down the A39 that links North Devon and North Cornwall. It connects the busy town of Barnstaple to some of our most beautiful coastal areas including Bideford, Clovelly and Hartland. A must-see if you’re driving across the South West!”

From here, the A39 winds south towards the ancient town of Bideford, where you have the opportunity to take a small diversion to the adjacent villages of Appledore and Instow, or the wide open beach of Westward Ho!. Just a short stretch further, it’s worth stopping to wander the cobbled streets of Clovelly, a village which has remained unchanged for hundreds of years.

Sue Haworth, Marketing Manager at said: “Clovelly is a picturesque, historic fishing village steeped in maritime atmosphere, once owned by the Queen of England. This atmosphere is embodied in a traffic-free, cobbled street with flower-strewn cottages, tumbling down a cleft in the 400-foot cliff to the ancient fishing harbour and 14th century quay, bringing glorious views along the way.” For those keen to delve deeper into Devon’s heritage on their road trip, Clovelly is a prime stop. Sue added: “There are many literary connections; Charles Kingsley lived here, Charles Dickens wrote about it and Rex Whistler featured it in much of his work.” If you’re setting off on your trip during the summer, look out for Clovelly’s unique festivals, including the Seaweed Festival and Lobster and Crab Festival.

The beauty of the Atlantic Highway is its multitude of potential stops. There’s something to see almost every few miles, so you can take your time meandering through Devon and Cornwall to transform this 134-mile journey into an epic road trip. Further south, on the Cornish border, the seaside town of Bude has two sandy beaches, stretching down towards Widemouth Bay, a part of the coast reminiscent of California on a sunny day.

From Widemouth, the Atlantic Highway veers further inland, but there’s an opportunity to follow the coastal road through some of North Cornwall’s prettiest towns and villages including Crackington Haven, Boscastle, Tintagel, Port Isaac and Polzeath. You can then meet the A39 down towards Fraddon, where the Atlantic Highway ends.

Don’t miss: Walking through Clovelly, admiring the cliffs at Hartland Quay, walking through the gardens at Hartland Abbey, a cream tea at Docton Mill, a pub lunch at The Bush Inn Morwenstow, a stroll along the sand at Widemouth Bay, stepping back in time at Tintagel Castle.

‘Never a Dull Moment in Clovelly’. Blog by Ellie Jarvis

Recently the village was used as a location for a film adaptation of ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ — Starring Lily James and Michiel Huisman. Directed by Mike Newell, known for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, plus Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Living on a film set was quite an experience. There was 24 hour security, much interest from the press and a real air of excitement throughout the weeks that the film company were here. Clovelly Harbour was transported back to the 1940s. Vintage props were used and the quay was dressed beautifully. All hints of ‘modern’ life were removed — Window boxes and hanging baskets were put in storage and our white balconies were turned black. All white walls were painted to look dirty and aged, The Red Lion Hotel, Crazy Kate’s Cottage, Fish Street, Temple Bar and even Clovelly Lifeboat Station all got a war-time make-over.

Vital maintenance was being carried out in the harbour immediately prior to filming, rebuilding a wall and under-pinning the cliff, below Temple Bar. This work had to pause while the cameras were rolling, but has since resumed.

In recent weeks, more filming has taken place, this time for television. Though we can’t say too much about the programme just yet, we are able to say that Clovelly will feature in an up-coming Channel Four series, shining a spotlight not just on the picturesque village, but on our community.

With 80 cottages, our community of residents is small, but we like to think we have a much wider community of people who love Clovelly! For many generations Clovelly has welcomed visitors and we know many thousands of people around the world have a strong, nostalgic connection to our timeless village.

Judging for The RHS South West in Bloom competition takes place in July and though filming etc. has rather impacted on our preparations, the village remains beautiful thanks to the community who love it. The competition has inspired many exciting projects over the past few years with a real emphasis on pride and community spirit which is so strong in Clovelly.

Throughout the year, Clovelly Community Garden Group leads the ‘In Bloom’ horticultural project, ensuring not only beautiful floral displays throughout the village, but also incorporating the Clovelly Yarn Bomb*! Colourful woollen displays now adorn the courtyard of the Fisherman’s Cottage and Kingsley Museum at the heart of the village and will remain on display for the rest of the month.

Thanks to social media we were able to invite people who love Clovelly to donate knitting and crochet, to contribute to this unusual project. We have received pieces from all over the UK and even from abroad! We’re absolutely thrilled and amazed by the standard of the knitting and crochet we’ve received. A wide range of ages have been involved too, from toddlers and school children, craft groups, a local library, and even a couple of television presenters!

*Yarn Bombing is a type of street art that employs colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fibre rather than paint or chalk. Yarn bombing is generally about reclaiming or personalising public places. Yarn installations can be easily removed if necessary”

Clovelly Maritime Festival

Sunday 21st July 2024

Watch the exciting Clovelly Cup yacht rally against a backdrop of live music, street entertainment, activities and games for the whole family. Join us for a day full of fun, all in aid of The Mission to Seafarers.