The Lifeboat Station

The North Devon coastline is perilous

The Lifeboat station, at Clovelly is integral to the heart of the village. With ships seeking shelter from storms, as there are few safe West Country harbours between Padstow and Bideford.

Following a terrible storm Clovelly’s first lifeboat station was built in 1870. Most of the fishing fleet was destroyed with the loss of many lives. At only 33 feet long and built of wood, the lifeboat was powered through the waves by a crew of sturdy rowers. Clovelly is now home to one of only two lifeboats with a permanent crew in this region.

The RNLI took Clovelly’s permanent lifeboat out of service in 1988. This rightly upset the villagers so they set up their own inshore rescue boat. Eight years later, the RNLI decided to return and started extending the boatshed and enhancing their inshore rescue service. In 2000 more work has been done with great sensitivity to the location by Bude-based marine architects. The completed building is the winner of many conservation awards.

During the summer months the lifeboat house is often open to visitors. It’s well worth a visit, so do make time for it during your tour of the village.