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Clovelly North Devon A Picturesque Fishing Village By The Sea
Clovelly A Feast For The Eyes
Clovelly is a small fishing village in north Devon England. With its cobbled main street, and donkey rides it attracts thousands of tourists every year. Even though its still a fishing village, these days the tourist trade has taken over. The climate is so mild that even if the weather is not very good in other parts of the UK you can guarantee that it will be warm here. The small village is surrounded by thick woods, and the flora flourishes better here than many other coastal resorts.
The population of this tiny village is only 443. This is mainly due to the fact that there is literally only one road from the top of the hill to the beach below. The actual village itself is unique in the fact that it is owned by a Lord of the Manor, who's stately home is situated above the village among vast acres of land. The estate, known as the Clovelly Estate company, is run by the honorable John Rous.
John is a descendant of the Hamlyn family who have owned the estate, village and manor house ever since 1738. He is the son of Keith and Mary Rous the 5th Earl of Stradbroke.
The rocky cleft in the hillside that is Clovelly village cannot be accessed by cars, as you can see by the photos. The steep incline has large steps all the way down and is 400 feet from the top to the bottom near the pier.
Because of the lack of transport donkeys were used to help carry food, furniture and heavy goods up and down the hill. You have to be pretty fit to keep walking up and down it as I discovered on a recent trip. The locals are obviously used to it, but by using donkeys they found it was the easiest way to transport just about anything.
These days the donkeys are still in use but mainly as a tourist attraction. Many people now use sledges which are shared be the villagers.
The houses are a sweet mix of wattle and daub, and there are a couple of pubs and one cafe. which I found to be really useful after walking up and down the hill. The little shops are typical quaint old English, selling trinkets and small statues of boats, pirates and other touristy things.
The village itself has been there for over 800 years, and in all that time it has only been owned by three families. And nearly all of the houses are listed buildings.
Clovelly North Devon
Clovelly North Devon
Have you ever visited Clovelly?
Artists and Authors In Clovelly
The novelist Charles Kingsley lived in Clovelly back in 1831 to 1836 when he was just a child. And Charles Dickens went on to describe it in his book A Message From The Sea.
Rex Whistler, a famous artist of the time, went on to paint Clovelly cameos on the famous Wedgwood China that is still popular today.
Even the famous Rudyard Kipling mentioned the village in his book Stalky and Co.
Another famous artist, J.M.W. Turner also painted a picture of Clovelly which now hangs in The National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin.
If you are interested in painting one of the most picturesque places in England, then Clovelly is the place to visit.
Make Sure You Take...
No Wheelchair Access
Fold up Buggys
Cars to be left at the top.
Pull along luggage
Too Much Luggage
My Vacation in Clovelly
I first visited Clovelly a few years ago, and was blown away by just how pretty it was. It reminded me of all those Hans Christian Anderson films, with gnomes and elves peering around the corner of the tiny cottages covered with flowers and hanging baskets!
My first reaction was, wow! It really is a magical place. And standing at the top of the steps and looking down was a real treat.
After talking to the villagers, I was astounded to discover the fact that to actually live there they had a waiting list of, in some cases, ten years. It's a real treasure trove, and people are lining up to live there.
I believe that you have to come from the area, or at least live nearby for many years, but don't quote me on that as it may well have changed since then.
The rent for the cottages was amazing too. Approximately 80 pounds a week! And many people put their names down for moving to another house if a resident leaves. This was about eight years ago, so it may have changed since then.
For example if you live at the top of the hill and want to live near the pier you have to go on a list and wait your turn. When asked, the residents say that they have never lived in such a beautiful spot before, and there was no way that they were going to move out.
It seems that the magic of Clovelly takes over and the charm never leaves. And i can totally understand why.
Entrance to Clovelly village is through the visitor centre.
You can get a bus straight to the center from the train station, and taxi's are always available.
There is an admission fee to view the village.
Prices for Adults £6.50 Child 4.00 Family 17.00 Under Seven Free. This covers the village and local museums, including the Fisherman's Cottage. If you are staying in the village then you won't pay the entrance charge
Don't forget your flat shoes.
The street is called Up along when you are going up, and Down along, when, well you get the idea!
When other people are making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, the local villagers in Clovelly are doing something slightly more strange.
They are driving out evil spirits from their village!
The ancient tradition is called Lentsherd. Children gather up all the metal objects they can find, such as coke cans, old pieces of metal and biscuit tins, and run down the hill. Then when they get to the harbor they throw it all in the sea. Taking the evil spirits with them!
Don't worry, they go out and pick it up after the event has finished. All the metal is tied together so it is easy to retrieve.
Clovelly is certainly one of the most picturesque places I have ever visited. And the countryside around it is brilliant for exploring, taking the kids for a walk and just admiring the sea view. So if you are ever in the area go and take a look. You won't forget it.
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