Britain in Bloom 2019, by Ellie Jarvis

Following on from their success in last year’s regional and national Britain in Bloom competitions, the Clovelly Community Gardening Group, headed by Su Maddocks, have extra special plans for their 2019 project. 

They aim to fill the heart of the village with hundreds of beautiful flowers, with an emphasis on sustainable planting. But Clovelly is unlike any other village, its steep landscape and access means that gardening is a major challenge for its residents.

The Lime Kiln Potager is a brand new area of particular interest. Raised beds have been constructed from trees felled on the Estate, and residents who do not have gardens have leapt at the chance to grow vegetables and flowers, enjoying the space which had previously been rather unloved.

Britain in Bloom 2019     Britain in Bloom 2019
Children: L-R  Wenty, Wilfie, Sonny and Harriet

The Visitor Centre continues to benefit from the teams efforts, who are again concentrating on floral displays at the entrance to Clovelly, as well as improving the picnic area, by the fountain. 

The Court Gardens team will continue to work alongside the garden group, enhancing the Bloom project and the walled gardens will again provide an abundance of fruit, vegetables and flowers.

Visitors to Clovelly Harbour, by Stephen Perham, Harbour Master

Harbour maintenance revealed a cannon

The sleepy harbour of Clovelly occasionally receives the out of the ordinary visitor.  Fred Partridge and his swing shovel made a very welcome appearance early in the spring to help the Harbour Master replace some of the wooden piles that help protect both the Quay wall and the boats that lay alongside.

Clovelly harbour maintenance

 It is essential maintenance that we try and keep on top of every winter. In a harbour with such a long history there will always be plenty of maintenance.  It was while we removed the older posts and were having them re-situated outside the Red Lion Hotel that the cannon was spotted. Fred had dug out a sizeable pit for a post and the concretion covered cannon was just about to be buried once more. Then, my brother, Tommy Perham, noticed what appeared to be a muzzle, and quickly told him to stop. We believe it to be an Armstrong Pattern cannon dating from the later 1700’s – it has certainly generated a lot of interest amongst the tourists.

Harbour maintenance revealed a cannon

Equine film stars visit Clovelly harbour

It has been a long time since we saw a horse in the Quay pool but on a recent beautiful evening not one but two came to say hello. Jonathan Marshall, who was a tenant in Clovelly for one summer and is well known locally for his falconry displays, is also a stunt rider for shows and films.  He came with his girlfriend and her horse. Their original idea had been to take the horses for a walk in the bluebells but finding few about opted for a ride down the steep road to the beach. We were delighted to welcome such beautiful animals to our harbour where we were treated to an impromptu display on the sand. The horses have starred in Poldark, Game of Thrones and the Lloyds Bank advert amongst others.

horse visitors to Clovelly harbour

Border Force and Australian catamaran

Even though we may feel that we are just a small harbour hidden away on the North Devon coast, we are not forgotten.  The Border Force recently made an appearance initially just to catch up with the Harbour Master and inquire about the visiting vessels sighted along our coast.  But while they were here the crew of a visiting Australian catamaran came ashore so the Border agents used their time to make their acquaintance. Obviously, there was nothing untoward on this occasion, but it is good to know that our inhospitable coast is very well protected.

Border Force

Clovelly donkeys

Horses are one thing but there is nothing better than seeing our own loveable donkeys visiting the harbour.  Once a regular sight near the Red Lion, they remain very much a part of Clovelly and we are always pleased to see them.

Loveable Clovelly donkeys

‘Harbour Master Sailing Challenge’ by Stephen Perham, Clovelly Harbour Master

While on passage to Clovelly the yacht “Good Dog”, a Nauticat 34, overheard a vessel in trouble talking with the coastguard about the possible need for a lifeboat. Skipper Mark Ashley-Miller was in sight of the vessel so turned the “Good Dog” around and gave the vessel a tow to the safety of the harbour.

Mark had set out from Dartmouth on March 29th on a 2 year voyage to circumnavigate the British Isles and while doing so his plan was to visit every Harbour Master, Port Master and Slip Master he can. It is a challenge he is undertaking in order to raise money and awareness of the charity ‘Seafarers UK’.

Established in 1917 following the great loss of life and wounding of sailors in the Great War, King George V himself gave his name to the charity. For 100 years as the ‘King George fund for Sailors’ the charity has helped seafarers and their families through times of hardship, continuing today as ‘Seafarers UK’.  The charity continues to campaign on behalf of the Merchant Navy, Royal Navy and the UK fishing fleets, raising awareness of the nation’s maritime sector and the challenges it faces.

Clovelly was Mark’s 25th port of call and I met him outside the Red Lion Hotel for a photograph and a chat. Recently retired, Mark had often thought of circumnavigating the UK but wanted the trip to have a purpose.  He mulled over ideas like visiting churches in sight of the sea but eventually came up with the challenge of meeting all the UK’s Harbour Masters – extracting a photo and a short interview out of them whilst raising money for a very worthwhile cause and raising awareness of mental health in the maritime industry. Luckily for Mark, Harbour Masters are an extremely friendly bunch and so far, his trip has been met with keen interest. As there is an estimate of between 400-600 Harbour Masters around the UK, he has his work cut out.

From Clovelly the “Good Dog” set sail for Ilfracombe where he shall meet Georgina Carlo-Paat, one of Britain’s few female Harbour Masters and from there up the Bristol Channel to Minehead.

You can follow Mark’s adventures on   or using any marine traffic app, search for “Good Dog”, and see where Mark is sailing.

You can donate to his cause at

We wish him Bon Voyage

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.