Discover the timeless village of Clovelly, where the steep, cobbled street tumbles down past gleaming white cottages to the tiny, deep-blue harbour.
Clovelly court gardens lie within the old walled gardens of Clovelly Court. They are a complete contrast to the bustle of the village, enjoy their tranquility and beauty. Every visit is different in this ever changing garden. The estates kitchen garden is a main feature along with the colourful herbaceous boarders. The beautifully restored Victorian glasshouse shelters an array of Mediterranean fruits such as victorian white peaches, apricots, melons, grapes, oranges and lemons.
Clovelly vegetables can be bought from the little shop in the gardens. You can also buy bedding plants, vegetables and fruit here. The entry charge to Clovelly includes free admission, but you can visit the gardens only for a small admission charge. Find them next to All Saints Church entrance through the arch. Gardens are open all year and Dogs are welcome. Owners are requested to keep them on leads at all times.
Donkey stables at Clovelly are almost as old as the village is. These sturdy little beasts carried the fishermen’s herring in mawms (baskets) from the harbour up the narrow cobbled street, as well as other heavy loads for the villagers. Without the donkeys, the village would never have become a successful fishing port. For years visitors could watch the heavy baskets of herring carried from the harbour up-along the cobbled street, to the carriers’ carts.
The donkeys had special pack saddles and were an integral part of the team. They brought in fuel, building materials, food and drink, and the post. They also carried out the rubbish and many other hard to move items. Consequently Clovelly became a much favoured West Country tourist destination and its two inns a popular choice for holidays. Hence the donkeys carried luggage and visitors to and from the Red Lion and the New Inn.
Today the donkeys enjoy a more restful existence, giving rides to visiting children in the summer. Make sure you pose for a photograph with them – the donkeys love the attention and your children will be entranced and enthralled. They are a must-see part of any family visit to North Devon. You’ll find their picturesque old stables below the Visitor Centre and just beyond the craft workshops.
It is modelled on a traditional Devon long barn. The interior is light and spacious. You’ll find a popular café where you can sit on the terrace and enjoy dramatic views of the North Devon coast and Bideford Bay. There are shops where you can buy a range of gifts, including bargain-priced books, jewellery, souvenirs of your visit, and delicious home-made fudge.
Before you leave to set off down the street, do watch the free 20-minute film of the village’s fascinating history. Visitors say that it adds hugely to the enjoyment of their visit.
Suspended from the Clovelly visitor Centre ceiling you’ll see a fishing boat unique to Clovelly and a faithful replica, the ‘Picarooner’. With its shallow draft, rounded bilges and high transom the boat can get out to sea faster and return earlier on the tide. This was very much stealing a march on bigger boats in their pursuit of Clovelly’s tasty herrings, the ‘Silver Darlings’.
After leaving the Visitor Centre, do visit the craft workshops and donkey stables in the Lower Yard, before reaching the cobbles that welcome you into the village.
The entrance charge helps keep this ancient village open and safe to the public. It also includes parking, admission to the film show, Charles Kingsley and Fisherman’s Cottage museums. You are also free to visit Clovelly Court Gardens at the top of the village. Charles Kingsley was the Victorian author of ‘The Water Babies’ and Westward Ho! who lived in the village. A day out or short break at Clovelly is always hugely enjoyable. Do come along and see what the village has to offer for the perfect family day out.
Wilderness summerhouse cabin perches on a lofty outcrop called the Wilderness. Consequently finding this special place you walk along the cliffs towards Hartland. This historic cabin, built in 1820, complete with verandah, is very special boasting of being Clovelly’s most romantic spot. Today its beautifully restored, winning a civic conservation award on its completion.
Hence as part of the restoration particular attention was paid the use of local materials, including fine Delabole slates. Clovelly’s Wilderness Summerhouse is the most romantic location, offering spectacular views across Bideford Bay to Lundy (Norse for island of puffins).
Transfers for wedding guests to and from this stunning location are by Clovelly Land Rovers. Consequently its highly popular for romantic outdoor weddings.
Craft Workshops in Clovelly fit beautifully into the Custodians ethos behind the drive to keep the village as the historical, thriving, working village it is today.
The Silk shop has an array of colourful scarves and beautiful hand-printed fabrics. These are mainly the creations of the distinguished textile designer, Ann Jarvis. One of the highlights in Ann’s collection is the Rex Whistler range. The celebrated artist, Rex Whistler (1905-1934), created the ‘Clovelly’ Toile de jouy design for his friend, Christine Hamlyn. They depict six charming views interspersed with vignettes of flowers and maritime objects.
Ann (and her husband) moved to and opened the Silk Shop at Clovelly after she had been head of the design studio team at Liberty of London Prints for 10 years.
Ann and her daughter, Ellie, later taught Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer how to print silk-velvet devoré scarves. Shown on the ‘Kirstie and Phil’s Perfect Christmas’ broadcast on Channel 4.
Established in 1992 by Clive Pearson. Clive is well-known in the North Devon area for his use of vivid colours on his beautifully glazed and hand-thrown pots. He hand-engraves and dates each pot individually. It thus gives all his customers unique memories of Clovelly and Devon.
When browsing the shop, choose Clive’s own or other famous Devon and West Country potters beautiful pots and a range of high-quality decorative ceramics and domestic ware.
Sarah Harper of The Soap Company shop has real passion for making natural, ethical, sustainable soaps. She had previously supplied all her natural high quality soap to local and high-end London retailers when living in London. She and her husband then decided to decamp from London to take a home here in Clovelly.
This move actually inspired her to take lots of fresh inspiration from the beautiful surroundings. The range now on sale includes natural, botanical and popular seaweed soaps, fragrant candles, bath bombs, beard and shaving soaps and much more
Guided tour starting point is your personal opening to a mine of information about village history. It also opens you up to the villages traditions. Jana is originally from Canada is so passionate and enthusiastic guiding visitors through the village. Join one of her tours and you’ll gain valuable insights into what makes Clovelly such a unique place to visit in North Devon.
Jana just loves sharing her knowledge, and you are bound to go away enlightened and enthused. always pre-book your tour as she is very busy. You will meet her at the guided tour starting point just by the donkeys. You can’t miss her as she will one in traditional dress. TripAdvisor added a number of amazing coments to her insertion but the one that sums there tours up is “taking a Clovelly Village Tour is a MUST.”
To book your tour call Jana on 0797 413 4701 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lundy Island is Norse for island of puffins, and lies twelve miles off the coast from Clovelly. This three and a half mile-long granite outcrop sits on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, with nothing but sea between it and North America, three thousand miles away. You can book a trip from the Quay at Clovelly
Once on Lundy island you can wander along the cliffs and enjoy superb scenery and sea views. When you get tired you can make for the Marisco Arms where you’ll find delicious food. Much of Lundy is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and a magnet for nature lovers. Watch out for some of the more unusual seabirds such as fulmars and raptors, like peregrine falcons, and down below, seals.
Cliff and Coastal walks in and around Clovelly Estate situated in stunning coastal, woodland scenery. Enjoy a gentle stroll up and along Hobby Drive, winding through glorious woodland with glorious views of the Sea and Harbour far below. Hobby drive is a three mile long driveway. It was devised by Sir James Hamlyn Williams and his wife. Named “Hobbey Drive” as it became an all consuming hobby for them both between 1811 and 1829. Although this walk has a more gentle gradient and more open views of the sea across Bideford Bay it is tougher on the feet. Before setting off from Clovelly village make sure you have the right footwear!
Clovelly is a historic fishing village with cobbled traffic free high street. It is build into a 400 ft high cliff and drops steeply past white washed cottages ablaze with flowers to its working Harbour. It is famous for donkeys, originally used to transport goods up and down the hill. The village also inspired Charles Kingsley to write the Water Babies and Westward Ho! during his time in the village Its Maritime history is vast linking to the Spanish Armada.
The South West Coastal path leisurely rambles along this dramatic Coast line to the magnificent Gallantry Bower headland rising 400 feet above the sea. Exploring Black Church Rock with its two vast windows carved through the cliff by the tides, in Mouthmill Cove on the way to the Hartland penisula, once the haunt of smugglers and many shipwrecks.
Clovelly countryside is rich in wildlife and is carfully managed to ensure that is is kept in its natural condition. Home to Badgers, Roe Deer and a variety of birds, butterflies and small mammals. There are spectacular seasonal displays of foxgloves, primroses, and bluebells.
Queen Victoria’s Fountain has a beautifully cultured head of the Queen. Created with ornamental swans with wings outstretched and a bowl crated in the shape of a scallop shell. Designed in 1901 by Lady Feodora Gleichen, a cousin of Queen Victoria. She was also the first female member of the Royal Academy. Consequently it is heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement. Thus creating a very stylish work of Art.
Lady Gleichen exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy. Her statue of Artemis is in Hyde Park London, for all to see.
The New Inn is at the very heart of Clovelly, laying half way down the famous cobbled street. From the inception in the 17th Century. It has had a colourful life having being rebuilt and refurbished many times. Currently it is in the style of the Arts and Crafts. Many famous people have passed over the threshold. From Charlie Chapel to Prime ministers. choice with day visitors and for North Devon holidays and short breaks. Bedrooms are bright and airy and full of individual character following the arts and craft design and these days they each have en-suite luxury bathrooms. Consequently Seven rooms offer sea views or panoramic vistas across Bideford Bay, one has its own private balcony with delightful views of the cobbled street below, and three others open out onto a spacious balcony that also overlooks the street.
Mount Pleasant sits in this grassy knoll, that is known locally as Peace Park. This is a popular picnic spot with visitors to Clovelly. There are seats with spectacular views across Bideford Bay. The memorial has been erected to remember the Clovelly residents who lost their lives during the First World War. Mount Pleasant was donated to the National Trust by Clovelly’s benefactor Mrs Christine Hamlyn in 1921.
This is for the use of the village in perpetuity. This special gift is commemorated on a plaque on the site. Further down the cobbles are Mount Pleasant cottages, one of which used to be the village bank. With such spectacular views Mrs Hamlyn, always, wanted people to enjoy this spot hence she crated a small shelter. This has been restored so visitors and residence are able to stop and enjoy views across Bideford Bay. (Wheelchair accessible)
Methodist chapel building with its whitewashed walls dates from around 1820. During the 18th century John Wesley inspired a strong Methodist movement in the West Country. His sermons were aimed at the heart as well as the mind. They seemed to make a direct appeal to Clovelly’s fishermen. Consequently they looked on the chapel more as a home than a church.
These days the chapel, with its serene interior washed a lime green, is a haven of peace away from the bustle of the village street.
There are three churches in the villages. This was enough to cover the village at the turn of the last century. Church and working at sea become of of the same to those soles as it was such a dangerous job of work in those days. Consequently it was not unusual for fishermen to pop into church in the days prior to going out. The same happened on their return mainly to give thanks for a safe trip. Clovelly has had to many terrible losses at sea, however thankfully they have become significantly less today.
Inside the Kingsley Museum you’ll meet Charles Kingsley (who lived in the village as a child) sitting at his desk. Listen to the celebrated actor and Clovelly resident, Joss Ackland, recite one of Kingsley’s most moving poems. This is the story of three fishermen’s wives waiting in vain for their husbands to return during a terrible storm. It is a stark reminder of the harsh realities faced by fishing communities. There are also two rooms with informative displays giving insights into Clovelly’s history and Charles Kingsley’s links with Devon, and a shop where you can buy a souvenir of your visit.
The new Clovelly Sweet and Fudge Shop sells a range of old-fashioned sweets such as dolly mixtures, jelly babies, liquorice and humbugs.
St Peter’s Chapel, consecrated on 29th of November 1948. This was at the request of the then vicar of the parish the Reverend A. S. Chandler. Inside the Chapel are the most colourful murals painted in the 1990’s by the well known North Devon artist Fiona Balfour. It is such a pretty and peaceful chapel along the path leading to the Kingsley Museum.
St Peters, the focal point of everyday life in the village, is in such a special setting. Consequently offering, over the last 80 years support and comfort to the community.
The Fishermans cottage is traditional built in cob and stone. History seeping from its walls, featuring interesting stories of the fishermen of Clovelly. Bringing the village alive, through the centuries of residents paintings, drawings and photographs. Consequently, creating a vivid insight into Clovelly’s rich fishing heritage.
Bring the stories of Clovelly alive to our visitors and residence alike opens it to future generations. Rex Whistler is a perfect example of just this. Hence the story of Rex going off to war in his tank with a tin of pain brushes hanging off the side.
Fishing being at the very core of Clovelly has so much to celebrate. Come in and find out more
Oberammergau cottage named after the village in Bavaria. The carvings around the doors,created over 100 years ago, make this a very special part of Clovelly. They originated in the Bavarian town of Oberammergau. Christine Hamlyn’s took a tour of Europe in 1910 and brought back many artefacts. She took a great liking to these special carvings so much so she had these commissioned. The town is home to the famous Passion Play, as well as being highly renowned for its woodcarving.
Traditional skills, like these, must be retained and passed to future generations. Consequently, Oberammergau village, is now home to the Bavarian State Woodcarving School. Thus, they now have over 120 woodcarvers working and training at the School. Traditions and this unique style of wood carving is past on to future generations.
Around the doors of the cottage, you can see these fantastic carvings. Hence, they take their inspiration from their locality and include the lovely coloured grapes and types of fruits.
The Cottage Tearoom is a private business that sits in the heart of the Village. Take a break and enjoy some welcome refreshments at these popular tearooms. Choose from a range of delicious lunches and light snacks. In the afternoon there are mouth-watering Devon cream teas on offer, with scrumptious home-made scones and lashings of clotted cream and jam. This delightful village tea shop is full of period charm. Outside, the sunny sheltered courtyard offers you spectacular views across Bideford Bay, and the garden overflows with colourful cottage flowers and exotics.
There are many places in Clovelly that serve a delicious section of food and drinks . These are designed to help enhance your visit to the village and will, we hope, help complete the experience.
Look-out or crows nest as many people call it is situated on the south west coastal path, on the cliffs above the village. In days gone by, the wives and families of Clovelly fishermen would gather. Thus watching nervously for sight of their loved ones returning. The currents and waves along with darkening skies always caused much anxiety to all left on land.
These days the Look-Out offers visitors the perfect vantage point. Consequently benefiting from the walk, whilst sitting on the bench just watching the world go by.
Overhead you can sit and watch as gulls glide by busying themselves scavenging . It’s so tranquil allowing you to embrace this special place before setting back towards the village or out towards Hartland and further along the coast towards Cornwall.
Walking the paths along the cliffs on the estate you will not only come to the Look-out but there are many other wonderful places that lay hidden. They are unspoilt by man and seep the history of this magical place. You can imagine the stories of past generations that could be told if only they could talk!
The Quay shop serves locally-made pasties and other food and drink. It’s ideal if you are looking for a quick take-away snack to enjoy on the quay while you savour the bustle of the harbour and distant views of Bideford Bay and the coast and cliffs. Please note that the opening times are seasonal, so do check with the Visitor Centre.
Great shop for crabbing! everything you might need to be got here along with spades and shovels for when the tide goes out.
Sail loft stored the Coastguard gig rowing boat, a grain store, even a cobbler’s shop. Latterly the sail loft become a home to the Red Lion’s luxury bedrooms.
With the decline of Clovelly’s fishing fleet, it soon stated to fall into dis-repair. In 2011 this grade II listed building began its journey towards its sensitive restoration. The restoration using only materials sourced from the West Country was very sympathetic to the building heritage. There are six stylish bedrooms, beautifully furnished, each offering glorious views across the bay. To the side and below are fishermen’s cellars, cold rooms, ice machines and tanks for storing live shellfish – facilities especially created so that sustainable fishing can continue at Clovelly
Temple Bar Cottage, originally a shelter for the Clovelly donkeys, is now home to one of the residents of Clovelly. A Devonian shoemaker lived in the tiny cottage during Victorian time. He could be seen sitting and repairing villagers’ boots and shoes at his open door by the archway. We know that he was always keen to have a chat and entertain visitors in conversation, and was the village gossip. The Temple Bar became popular with the artists. J M W Turner when he visited the village in 1811. Making sketches of it and many other aspects of the village in the art book he always carried with him.
The Lime Kiln produced lime for various uses between the 14th and 19th Centuries. Transporting of Lime was difficult during the pre-industrial era. Consequently it was distributed by sea. Hence manufacturing was at small ports along this coast.
An important industry to Clovelly since the 14th century. Limestone burning became an important part of North Devon’s economy during the 18th and 19th centuries.
It has many uses as an element in the making of agricultural fertilizer, also a stabilizer in mud renders, floors, mortar and whitewash.
Limestone and coal shipped from South Wales to Clovelly harbour. The Donkeys at Clovelly then began the transfer of these minerals up to the lime kiln.The kiln was used for production quicklime, which is a by product of limestone.
Typically gangs took a day to load, three days to fire, two days to cool and a day to unload. Once burnt through and cooled, they raked it out from the base of the kiln through the draw hole. Adding further layers of limestone and coal to the top starting the process all over again.
The working gangs, as you could imagine, found it an extremely exhausting and unpleasant job. Breathing dangerous noxious fumes left them choking and emerging with streaming red-eyes. They had no safety controls or protection and sadly many men died young as a result.
There is a second kiln at Mouth mills that, regrettably is in disrepair. However the village lime kiln is used these days as a store beneath. We have fitted safety railings around the top of the kiln.
This area at the top of the kiln is also used for stalls, exhibitions, and children’s arts and crafts at our annual events.
You’ll be rewarded with stunning sea views and the sight of a picturesque waterfall pouring out of the cliff face.
There is a cave behind where legend tells that Merlin the Arthurian magician was born. The source of the waterfall is slightly more prosaic! A stream used by villagers for drinking water once flowed down the village street. When mains water finally arrived, the stream was diverted so now emerges here, cascading onto the beach.
Many couples come to this part of the beach as it seems, so we have been told, to draw people who are in love.
The Lifeboat Station is a vital base for a lifeboat as there was no safe shelter or mooring for many miles on this part of the North Devon coast. Hence launching the boats was always dangerous. Consequently they had to deal with huge waves crashing over the boats as they left the safety of the harbour. After the RNLI took Clovelly’s permanent lifeboat out of service. Hence villagers set up their own inshore rescue boat. After eight years the RNLI returned, extending the boat shed and enhancing the inshore rescue service. The lifeboat house is often open to visitors.
Clovelly raise money for the RNLI every year in many ways. Serving RNLI bottled water in the restaurants, holding Lifeboat weekend every year to also raise funds. The station is an integral part of the village so if a call comes in members of the rescue team will be seen immediately dropping what they are doing to man the boat.
The Red Lion hotel is a beautiful 4 star Inn. It has had extensive refurbishment over the years hence bringing it up to todays superb quality. In 2011 the old grade II listed sail loft was transformed into 6 wonderful new bedrooms.
Consequently meaning the Inn now boasts 17 lovely rooms with some unique views overlooking the harbour and Bideford bay.All are beautifully decorated with a stylish nautical theme and bookable on line
The Red Lion hotel offers welcome drinks and meals in their bars for day visitors and residence of the village. It also have the harbour restaurant that is open each evening for both residence and non residence alike. They serve lobster and fresh crab from the quay in season. Herring, seabass and many other white fish from the bay are also on the menu.
The snug is the place, for those looking for light snacks or some delicious pub grub. its likely that you will be mixing with the locals, listening and sharing in their stories. Amazingly some families are 6 or 7 generations old. Staying here, the village, reminds you or possibly introduce you to a vanished less hurried way of life.
Waking up at the Red Lion is a very special experience. Thus sights and sounds of the harbour along with the distinctive sound of sea on the shingle beach is unique and unforgettable.
Landrover service is operated in Clovelly to enable our guests access to and from the quay from the visitor centre. The village street is steep and cobbled. If you walk down you can take the fare-paying Land Rover service (available Easter to October) back to the top, but if you feel that you may not be able to manage it, you can book a seat in the Land Rover at the Visitor Centre reception desk. This will take you down to the harbour and back up at a separate charge.
Kate Lyall, known as Crazy Kate, died in 1736. Crazy Kate’s Cottage, as it became know, with its picturesque balcony overlooking the harbour, is said to be the oldest one in Clovelly. Kate’s husband was a fisherman, and she would watch him from her upper window as he fished in the bay. Consequently one day, a terrible squall blew up and he was drowned before her eyes. This terrible sight drove her mad, and she remained demented until the day of her death. On that tragic day, she put on her wedding dress and walked into the sea to join her husband in his watery grave. Hence why the house came to be known as part of village history.
As long ago as the 13th century a rudimentary quay was constructed. Built to allow a small fleet of Clovelly fishing boats to catch oyster, herring and mackerel in Bideford bay.
The current quay, built in the 17th Century by the Cary family was lengthened to protect the ever-growing fleet of fishing boats. The build was all done by hand and took many years to complete. Consequently it’s hard to imagine how such huge boulders could have been hauled across the foreshore and hoisted into position. The result is a testimony of the skills and hard work of the villagers all those years ago.
Between the 13th and 17th centuries, Clovelly became the only safe haven for boats along the entire coast from Appledore to Boscastle. Hence the need to enlarge the quay and create a small fortress against the ravages of the sea.
There are four canon barrels, that are now bollards. However they are now situated on the quay side and are said to come from Spanish ships that took part in the Armada. Today our fishermen use the quay to load and unload the “catch of the day”. Thus, Clovelly fishermen being entrepreneurial spirits, now use their boats for charters. They also take visitors out along the rocky coastline and on trips to and from Lundy.
Wild Romantic Gallantry Bower gives magnificent views along the rugged North Devon coast and across to Lundy Island. Consequently while standing on the breezy cliff top and you can watch the seabirds. These will undoubtedly include some graceful fulmars gliding around your head.
The site has links with early man, and there is a prehistoric round barrow here. In the 19th century Gallantry Bower was a popular beauty spot. Thus visitors to Clovelly Court used to gather enjoying these panoramic sea views. The Clovelly Estate has recently cleared trees from the headland to restore the heathland and precious wildlife habitats.
Walkers using the the South West Coastal path. They enjoy these amazing views and can so often be found stopping for a picnic, hence making the most of this stunning location.
Angles wings shelter, built in the 19th century. This wooden structure gained its name from the elegant carvings of angels and angels wings supporting the roof. Built by Sir James Hamlyn Williams, a former owner of Clovelly. He placed it here so that he could look across Bideford Bay. This way he was able to see where his daughter, Lady Chichester, lived at Youlston. Well worth the gentle stroll it takes to see this lovely this structure and views. Once you’ve arrived you can rest on the seat amidst glorious woodland, enjoying spectacular views of the North Devon coast. The angle wings is just one of a number of venues on Clovelly estate that can be used for all sorts of celebrations. The Angle wings is perfect, for die hard romantics, as a perfect place to pop the question.