BarnstapleClovelly Village
Nr Bideford
North Devon EX39 5TA
 
 
The tiny fishing port of Clovelly in North Devon is quite unique. This picturesque little village with its narrow cobbled street is non-commercialised and has no traffic. How can this be in the 21st century?
 
The trick to Clovelly is that it is privately owned by the Clovelly Estate which is committed to retaining the unique charm of the village while ensuring villagers are part of the commercial world. There are no individually owned houses and access to the village is by foot. The steep narrow road is blocked by the Visitor Centre where visitors must park their vehicles.
 
Narrow Cobbled Street drops 400ft to sea level
The narrow cobbled street plunges 400 feet (122 metres) down a cleft in the cliffs. In olden days donkeys and sleds were used to bring goods into and out of the harbour below. Nowadays the donkeys are used for giving children rides in the meadow at the top of the cliff, or carrying a visitor’s luggage up the street providing an excellent photo opportunity.
 
People have lived at Clovelly for millennia. At the top of the cliff at Clovelly Dykes are remains of Iron-Age earthworks but Clovelly did not really become a village until the 14th century when the dry stone quay was built creating the only harbour on the rocky coast for 20 miles. It was still dangerous for fishermen but prosperity came with the herring fishing industry in the 16th century.
 
Busy Harbour 
Although the great herring and mackerel shoals disappeared in the 19th century, Clovelly is still a fishing port, now known for its lobsters and crabs. Activities still centre around the busy little harbour and it is here that the 14th century cottage of Crazy Kate can be found, an old lime kiln, the lifeboat station, and the Red Lion Hotel. The only two take-away shops in the village are discreetly nestled beneath the Red Lion Hotel. The only other hostelry is the New Inn in the centre of the village.
 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Hotels.com here:    External Link
 
Pubs offer Accommodation & Meals - There are no B&B's in the Village itself
Accommodation and meals are available at the two pubs but there is no B & B accommodation in the village itself. All the cottages are beautifully maintained with every available spot crammed with colourful flowers. Several of the cottages are open as museums and craft workshops demonstrating 19th century crafts and just how hard life was for these fishing communities.
 
There are, however, a few very pleasant B&B's at the top of the High Street just outside the village proper.
 
Charles Kingsley
Clovelly was the childhood home of 19th century author and social reformer, Charles Kingsley. As an adult he returned many times to his much loved home where he wrote poetry and his famous books "The Water Babies" and "Wesward Ho". His house has a fascinating museum.
 
King Arthur & Merlin
The beach is rocky and pebbly and close to the harbour a waterfall plunges over the cliff. Behind the cascade is a cave, reputedly where the Arthurian Merlin the Magician was born. If you look carefully through the spray you can see Merlin, standing there.
 
Admission Charge is payable at Visitor Centre
There is an admission charge to park at the Visitor Centre and gain admission to Covelly but it is well worth it. Being traffic-free, visitors can wander without a care, catching glimpses of beautiful views between the cottages tumbling down the hill. For visitors unable to manage the steep walk to the harbour there are some lovely picnic spots and walks along the cliff top.
 
The Red Lion Hotel runs a Land Rover service up a steep back road to the Visitor Centre for a small charge. To find out more about Clovelly and its attractions go to the Estate’s official website.
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone  +44 (0)1237 431 781
Website  Clovelly Visitor Centre   External Link
 
Getting There
- By Car
Exit the M5 motorway at Junction 27 and take the A39 main road to Bideford. Nine miles (15 km) west of Bideford at Clovelly Cross turn off the A39 on to the B3237 and follow the signs to Clovelly. The B3237 terminates at the Clovelly Visitor Centre where there is a car park.
 
- By Public Transport
The nearest train station is Barnstaple. Buses run from Barnstaple and Bideford and to Clovellly. Please refer to the Barnstaple article in this website for detailed ‘Getting There’ instructions.
 
Google Maps - Clovelly