Lucy Halliday, Head Gardener, Clovelly Court Gardens

Mid November

Clovelly Court Gardens seasonal produce is almost at a close, but it has been heartening to have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables still leaving the gardens in November. Our little Apple Store shop has remained stocked, along with our stall at the Visitor Centre. We’ve continued supplying fresh produce to Clovelly’s Red Lion hotel and local pub. We have even had a stall of veg at the Herring Festival this week so that visitors could add Court Gardens goodies to their plate alongside freshly caught herring. We have all the hearty autumnal favourites like parsnips, leeks, red cabbage, celeriac, rainbow chard, Bramley apples and beetroot.

Strimming work has begun in earnest along the Long Walk to give this beautiful woodland garden area its winter haircut and allow the best display of bulbs and wild native flowers come spring. We have also continued work on the many rills and gullies and cleared some holly thickets where they’ve popped up. This work will continue until the end of the month.

There’s much to look forward to with tasks that centre around next season.

We’ve been planting colourful tulips for potted displays and around the entrance to the gardens. Work has also continued on the propagation of plants for next year’s sales and herb border. The tomato house has begun its transformation into the over wintering house for all the tender plant stock we are generating. Although sad to say goodbye to the chilli plants it is always nice to clean away the old and start off the new. As our glasshouse is lit, we can even continue propagation during the dark evenings.

Some seed saving has taken place this week of flower and vegetable seeds. Little brown paper bags full of promise are collecting in the gardeners’ mess room. I’m hopeful that we might share our spare seed with locals and visitors next year for a small donation. I also had the pleasure of meeting a new volunteer this week. A garden shared is a garden fully enjoyed and we welcome all who would like to join us to learn and take pleasure in this beautiful and fascinating place.

Clovelly Herring festival

November 18th 2018 is the time of year when the historic, fishing village of Clovelly, North Devon, celebrates its annual Herring Festival, which is held to promote these tasty, nutritious Silver Darlings and support carefully managed fishing.

The village once depended on the harvest of herring, which are caught in superb condition for a short season off its coast. Records go back over 400 years and in 1749, there were a hundred herring boats in the port. When fishing was good, 9000 herring could be landed at one time. Those days of massive catches are long gone and there remain just two herring fishermen who still employ sustainable fishing methods using drift nets and long lines.

Maritime historian and writer, Mike Smylie, will be there with his “Kipperland” exhibition, which is devoted to the history of the herring. He will also be turning herring into delicate-tasting kippers and bloaters in his smokehouse.

There’ll also be net making, flax processing and a Curragh on show provided by ‘Flaxland’.

Quay kitchens will be serving a variety of delicious herring specialities with chef demonstrations, beer tastings and local food and craft stalls.

Throughout the day there will be live music, street entertainment, face-painting & henna Tattoos, an exhibition of Clovelly herring fishing, The Herring Hunt and the AONB event-themed children’s craft activities.

Standard admission charges include all entertainment.

Please note that you can travel by bus from Barnstaple and Bideford to Clovelly. Click on… for the Stagecoach South West timetable.

Clovelly Herring Festival featured in:

Countryfile Magazine
Channel 4’s River Cottage series

Lucy Halliday, Head Gardener, Clovelly Court Gardens

Winter is close

Amazingly the mild damp weather continues although the light levels are now signalling to the plants that winter is close. The dahlias, hanging on till the last, have finally stopped flowering even if the grass is still growing! Turf growth is negligible below 5-6 Celsius but even at night our temperatures have regularly been 7-9. This is giving the sward a great chance to recover and thicken up again following the summer drought. This week has seen the steep banks of the lawned terraces get what we hope will be their final haircut of the season.

Thinking of next year, we have been potting on some glasshouse bulbs for next spring. These include scented hyacinths which we will ‘force’ for early flowering. We have also used some rainy afternoons to carry on propagating plants for sale next year.

Many happy customers left the garden this year happily carrying the offspring of our ginger lilies, gazanias and heritage vegetable plants, for example. We know how much visitors like to take a souvenir plant home so we are working to bulk up on tender Clovelly walled garden classics like pelargoniums, zantedeschias, osteospermums and fuchsias.

Weeding work continues, working from off the paths even in the heavy rain, as has mulching.  Rain and leaves make for a tricky combination in some parts of the garden.  So to avoid flooding in the woodland walk we have been giving much needed attention to the drains and gullies, which make this area of the gardens such a wonderful place for wildlife. As well as fantastic horticultural specimens, such as the original Victorian plantings of Gunnera tinctoria or Giant Bolivian Rhubarb! This work, to clear many of the gullies, will continue into next week to help avoid winter waterlogging.

First World War Memorial

First World War, 1914-1918

The memorial on Mt. Pleasant was erected by Christine Hamlyn, owner and benefactress of Clovelly, in memory of the village men who lost their lives during the First World War and her nephew, The Hon. John N.  Manners. 
In 1921 she then donated Mount Pleasant to the National Trust for the use of the people of Clovelly for all time.

World War I, loss of Clovelly men

The Gallery WWI exhibition in the Clovelly museum also covers the village men who lost their lives.

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.