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 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.
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.
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.
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 [The oldest cottage in Clovelly, named after a fisherman’s widow]
Temple Bar Cottage [here the street passes under the kitchen and dining room of a cottage]
Oberammergau Cottage [decorated with wood carvings from Germany]
Kingsley Museum and Shop [find out more about Charles Kingsley and his times in Clovelly]
Rex Whistler’s ‘Clovelly’ toile de jouy fabric in the museum
Close-up of the fabric
Fisherman’s Cottage [see how a fisherman lived in the 1930s]
Queen Victoria Fountain [a stone fountain built as a monument to Queen Victoria]
Mount Pleasant [a grassy picnic spot with war memorial and spectacular views]
Hobby Drive Poster
Hobby Drive Walk
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.