Crowdless Clovelly

Clovelly info board

The famous and picturesque village of Clovelly on the North Devon coast is quite unique. Its streets are too steep for cars and in the past donkeys were used as the main form of transport. Donkeys are still kept at Clovelly but no longer used for heavy loads. Instead these days all goods are transported by sledge.

Clovelly Sledge transportation

Clovelly Sledge Transport

There is a huge car park at the top of the village and you enter Clovelly through the big visitor centre containing a ticket office  (yes, there’s a £6.50 charge to park and visit the village) and a shop selling everything from postcards and books of all kinds to sweets and souvenirs, a cafe and an audio-visual film show. The village is owned by one family – read more about the history of the village ownership here.

Looking up cobbled street Clovelly

The main street in Clovelly

Down the main street in Clovelly

I suppose the poor weather meant that the usual Clovelly crowds kept away and I had the village practically to myself. There was a small coach party of German tourists arriving at the same time as me but we soon spread out in the narrow streets and passages and shops and inns and around the harbour so my visit was not in any way spoiled by the famous crowds that I had heard of.

Clovelly Quay

The tide’s out at the quay

I decided to walk steadily down the main street and sit down for a while on the 14thC quay to study the map (so long as it stayed dry) and work my way slowly back to Hobby Drive and from there regain the car park.

The tide is out at Clovelly Harbour

Clovelly and Lifeboat Station

Down at the harbour the tide was out but it looked as if there is still some kind of fishing industry being carried out here. The map and leaflet list all the places to see and I managed see/visit them all.

Crazy Kate's Cottage Clovelly

Crazy Kate’s Cottage [The oldest cottage in Clovelly, named after a fisherman’s widow]

Temple Bar Cottage Clovelly

Temple Bar Cottage [here the street passes under the kitchen and dining room of a cottage]

Oberammergau Cottage Clovelly

Oberammergau Cottage [decorated with wood carvings from Germany]

Clovelly Museum and signs

Kingsley Museum and Shop [find out more about Charles Kingsley and his times in Clovelly]

Rex Whistler's Clovelly poster

Rex Whistler’s ‘Clovelly’ toile de jouy fabric in the museum

Toile de Jouy

Close-up of the fabric

Exterior 15th century fisherman's cottage

Fisherman’s Cottage [see how a fisherman lived in the 1930s]

Queen Victoria Fountain

Queen Victoria Fountain [a stone fountain built as a monument to Queen Victoria]

Mount Pleasant Clovelly

Mount Pleasant [a grassy picnic spot with war memorial and spectacular views]

Hobby Drive poster

Hobby Drive Poster

Hobby Drive Walk info

Hobby Drive Walk

Bay from Hobby drive

Bideford Bay from Hobby Drive

Rain was threatening on the morning of my visit but it held off until I’d JUST begun my Hobby Drive walk. Then the heavens opened and reluctantly I gave up the walk and headed off to Braunton and shelter and sustenance at Squires fish and chip restaurant.


12 comments on “Crowdless Clovelly

  1. Nilly says:

    Well worth a visit! I did not know about the Charles Kingsley link. I believe he was inspired by Malham Tarn too.

  2. LIKE LIKE LIKE! I’ve been there, so it’s a treat to see it again. But you put up some info that I didn’t know, which was even better since I learned something new.

  3. queenbreaca says:

    Ah, to visit Clovelly again, if only virtually…. Thank you so much for this report! And to have it almost to yourself is a treat I’m still looking forward to. Most of your pictures are very, very good, so please upload some to Flickr as well!
    Warm regards,

  4. Thank you for these wonderful photos! I first heard of the literary Clovelly through the last Katy book In the High Valley with its wonderful description of a walk into the Devon town, but didn’t know for years it was a real place. Now I think I mustn’t let another year go by without seeing it for myself.

    • I don’t know that book but I been racking my brains ever since my visit (and during) to remember a book I read within the last few years which really piqued my interest to visit the village even though I had forever heard of it. I’m glad to have visited without the usual crowds.

  5. Marie-Noëlle says:

    That village looks delightfully picturesque and charming. I must confess i understand it attracts the crowds !
    A very pleasant trip from my bed (shall tell you in a private mail).
    I’ve never been to that part of England… Discovering a lot thanks to you … Thank you !

  6. steve musk says:

    Thank you for showing me a part od devon that I have never been to, heard of yes been to no, If it is ok with you I would like to do a painting from one of your photo’s. As alas I do not think that I will ever be able to visit due to a head injury and cannot walk far, that and living a few hundred miles away!! :):) Once gain THANK YOU so much!!

  7. […] The Southwest Coastal Path national trail passes along the coast here and we couldn’t resist joining it for a while to get a view of the Castle Bungalow in its setting and, of course, just sit on a quiet bench and contemplate the sea and the sky and peaceful scene in front of us.  In the other direction, beyond the bungalow, the path heads towards nearby picture-postcard Clovelly. […]

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