What an amazing village Clovelly is! I loved it – so magical and interesting, full of history and beautiful cobbled streets. After staying the night at Woodford Bridge Country Club it was about a 20 minute drive through the windy North Devon roads to reach the village of Clovelly – even on the drive I encountered some lovely country views and could just tell Clovelly was going to be a good destination to visit!
Park Up and Get Walking
When you arrive at Clovelly you are greeted with a large car park – there were certainly plenty of spaces on this cold, windy Saturday in February. After parking up I made my way into the visitor centre and was warmly greeted by the man behind the till. He warned me it was quite a steep descent through the village and because it was wet the cobbles were likely to be slippery and so he advised me to be careful.
Clovelly is a privately owned village meaning you have to pay an entrance fee if you wish to visit. This might seem like an odd thing to have to do but I think it helps preserve the uniqueness of the place and keep it special. The entrance fee includes parking charges, entrance to Clovelly Court Gardens, admission to two museums and the chance to watch the 20 minute film about the history of the village. Not bad for £8.25 I didn’t think!
Heading Down the Cobbles
After walking through the visitor centre, which is full of souvenirs and all sorts of gifts, I watched the video display of village life. The video was interesting, if a little outdated, and gave me a good sense of the village and what to expect when I entered. No cars are allowed into the village which gives it such a safe, quiet and special feel – a bit like stepping back in time!
I made way out of the visitor centre and started the descent down into the village. On the way I stopped off at the Donkey Stables to say hello to some furry friends who apparently are often used in the summer to transport little children through the village on donkey rides. I also had a peek into a few of the studios there – apparently pottery, craft and art workshops are often offered in the peak seasons and I bet these would be good fun. Sadly none of the studios or outlets were open when I visited but this probably saved me from spending too much money!
As I continued on the main path down I passed National Trust’s Mount Pleasant. This is apparently a popular picnic stop as you can get some fantastic views across Bideford Bay. There’s also a memorial dedicated to Clovelly residents who died in World War One. What a beautiful place to have such a striking and important memorial. s
Cobbled Streets and Coloured Houses
As I made my way further down towards the heart of the village I couldn’t help but stop to take many photos of the amazing views. I had to be careful though as the path certainly was sleep and the cobbles were pretty slippery from all the rain – I wouldn’t want to rushing down them! It was so nice and quiet with barely anyone else looking around – I really felt like I was exploring this beautiful village all on my own. There were quite a few of what I assume were locals and people that lived in the village – they appeared to be going about their everyday life and this was a special experience to witness.
The houses were simply stunning – lots of little coloured cottages, some with lovely hanging baskets or decorations outside. I visited a small gallery full of lovely hand painted pictures and popped into the church too. Inside the quaint little church there was a video player set up with 6 videos you could choose to watch. I took a pew and watched a couple – they gave me even more insight into the village and the way of live there. One of the stained glass windows was really simple but caught my eye for some reason – I thought it was lovely!
There’s a couple of small museums you can visit, one of which is the Fisherman’s Cottage. This details lots of information about fishing in Clovelly – the main occupation here for centuries and you can see how a Clovelly fisherman would have lived in the 1930’s. You can also visit the Kingsley Museum which is focused on the writer and social reformer Charles Kingsley. Charles wrote the famous book ‘The Water Babies’ and also ‘Westward Ho!’. Charles lived and grew up in the village and so this small museum is dedicated to him, his work and his life. Within the museum you can read about Charles Kingsley and his work and see a model display of him sitting at his desk writing a letter to his fiancee – you can listen to this being read through an audio display. There’s also an old fashioned sweet shop here too which I decided not to go into as I knew I would be too tempted by all the sweets and homemade fudge to leave empty handed!
Down to the Harbour
I continued my descent down through the village, heading for the harbour. I stopped to take a lot of photos on the way – just such pretty scenery to photograph! When walking down a sharp corner I met a postman coming back up the other way. He was quite puffed out which made me think about what it would be like to deliver the post to the village everyday and walk through this steep village. It also made me worry a tad about the coming back up!
Clovelly harbour did not disappoint! What a stunning little harbour with boats and views to admire. I walked around for ages taking photos and spent time looking back up to the village I had just passed through – stunning! There’s a little waterfall you can see on the shore area and there’s also a lifeboat station. Unfortunately this wasn’t open to visitors given the time of year.
Spot of Lunch at the Red Lion
All this walking around and exploring meant I had built up quite the appetite. The Red Lion Hotel is situated at the edge of the harbour – a prefect location for a spot of lunch. I settled on a basket of bread, oil and olives and a lemonade. I sat and enjoyed the food whilst looking out over the beautiful harbour. I reckon this would be such a lovely place to stay – although I’m not sure about having to keep walking up and down the path to get in and out of the village – I wonder if cars were allowed down to there via an alternative route?
After lunch and a rest I needed to brave walking back up to the top of the village. This wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be – I made sure to stop and take more photos so I didn’t get too puffed out! It’s such a beautiful place to wander around that you can take your time and enjoy every part of it.
I think Clovelly is a really special place to visit – there’s lots of opportunities for shopping, history and beautiful scenery. I thought it was a magical place to explore and loved how it was very tourist free and quiet – I felt like I was stepping back in time, especially as no cars are allowed! One of my favourite memories of visiting Clovelly was seeing all the houses with the sledges outside which the locals use to carry items down through the village to their houses. When I was at the top of the village I saw a Sainsbury’s delivery van off loading shopping to a mother and her son who were putting the items onto baskets stuck onto to a sledge. It made me laugh to think that this must be a normal way of live for them and I was amused even more when the lady hooked the sledge up to their large dog and the dog pulled it down the cobbled slopes – not something you see everyday!
Have you ever been to Clovelly? Let me know your thoughts below!