From the moment we arrived, I got the feeling that Clovelly was my kind of place! Having parked the Dottymobile in the Visitor Centre car park, (Clovelly is pedestrianised) we walked through to the reception where we were met by a lovely lady who informed us that dogs are welcome everywhere in the village, providing they are on leads. My excitement at this news was mounting considerably as was Poppy’s, who after our three hour car journey, was rather in need of a comfort break! Map of the village in hand we descended the steps of the visitor centre, only to be met by Brian the donkey! Yes, laugh you may, but my husband Rob, being as equally fanatical about animals as me, has to name most creatures we meet and apparently this furry nosed beauty looked like a Brian! Anyway, having been well and truly welcomed to the village by a chorus of donkey braying, we continued down the steep, cobbled path towards the centre of the village and towards our home for the night The New Inn.
The inviting smell of wood smoke, billowing from quaint chimney pots, filled the autumnal air as we made our descent, and I couldn’t fail to notice the amount of four legged friends enjoying a family day out with their humans – this place was getting better by the minute! The New Inn is situated in the heart of the
village, half way down the cobbled street, and has been welcoming guests since the seventeenth century. On arrival, we explained that we had a room booked for the night, to which the landlord replied, “Oh you must be the dog lady!” I instantly felt at home – there is no title on earth more fitting, or more flattering as far as I’m concerned! After checking in, we were shown upstairs to our room – a lovely clean, cosy bedroom complete with an ensuite shower and a shared balcony which overlooked the main high street; just perfect for someone whose fascination, along with the nations woofers, is people watching!!
We quickly parked our belongings and headed out, keen to see what the village had to offer. If you’ve never visited Clovelly before I cannot speak highly enough of the unique feel that exudes every, ancient cobble stone – it really is one of the most magical places I think I’ve ever visited, it’s almost like stepping back in time; like being part of a film set in one of the most picturesque of period dramas.
Donkeys are a big part of Clovelly, not only is there a donkey stables (where visitors can stroke and feed the donkeys and mules), but many of the businesses feature a donkey reference in their name. Historically the donkeys have been used to transport goods up and down the steep streets of the village, however in more recent times they have been replaced by quirky handmade sledges which can be found parked outside each dwelling. Due to a foot operation earlier in the year, walking downhill is still a relatively slow process for me and I could see Poppy dog looking longingly at these contraptions thinking it maybe a quicker option to get us to the harbour-side at the foot of the village!