Clovelly Herring Festival

November 17, 2019

Clovelly Herring Festival always falls in November. It’s the time of year when our historic village celebrates the coming of the great “Silver Darlings”, better known as Herring. We celebrate and promote this tasty, nutritious fish whilst supporting sustainable fishing. The village always depended on the harvest of herring, caught in superb condition for a short season off this coast. Records go back over 400 years and in 1749 there were about 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. These days we have just two herring fishermen, both employing sustainable fishing methods using only drift nets and long lines.

The Maritime historian and writer, Mike Smylie, attends with his “Kipperland” exhibition, which is devoted to the history of all things herring. Mike also turns the herring into delicate-tasting kippers and bloaters in his smokehouse for sale.

Flaxland was unfortunately unable to join the event last year, but will do this year with their exhibitions and demonstrations.  An opportunity to discover how the flax plant is used to make a vast range of goods.

On the quay, kitchens serve a variety of delicious herring specialities along with beer, gin and cider tastings, local food and craft stalls. And throughout the day there will be live music by Dan Britton & Martin Cole, Rakes Adrift, Johnny Cash & June Carter Tribute, followed by the band, Lazy, at 4:15 pm should you decide to stay and enjoy a drink after the event.
There will also be street entertainers, Eco-Glitter face-painting, Washhouse Studios with a fish print art workshop this year, Virtual Snorkelling, an exhibition of Clovelly herring fishing, Sustainable Fish Education with tasters & recipes, and ArtyCrafts’ children activities and boat stories in the Harbour Bar.

Atlantic Academy students will present their art display for a competition this year too!

And Malcolm Goram plans to bring and show his own Picarooner along with Clovelly Harbour Master, Stephen Perham’s picarooner.  Stephen uses his picarooner to fish for herring as has always been done in the past as it was unique to Clovelly.  The name ‘Picarooner’ was once a Spanish insult meaning ‘a sea robber’, because the vessel, with its shallow draft, rounded bilges and high transom, could get out to sea faster and thus steal a march on the bigger boats in the pursuit of sweet Clovelly herrings.



Clovelly Herring Festival

The Clovelly Herring Festival features in lots of publications and TV programmes  and is one of the best five autumn food festivals



Standard admission charges include all entertainment.