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Welcome to Clovelly. One of the most visited villages in North Devon. White washed houses clinging to the hillside. Cobbled village streets leading down to a most ancient and beautiful harbour. Clovelly is a delight to explore, particularly out of Season or late in the afternoon when the crowds have gone. In the summer sunshine cats asleep on steps. Hanging baskets. Working boats in the Harbour overlooked by the Red Lion Hotel. A nice place to rest before the walk back up. Fancy a trip around the Bay?. Superb coastal walks too. Clovelly Devon.
There has been a stone pier in Clovelly since medieval times. The pier, like that at nearby Hartland Quay, was extended in the 16th century. Dozens of fishing boats would work the waters of Bideford Bay for the then vast shoals of herring in late autumn, long lining for cod in winter, and potting for lobsters in summer. Ketches would bring in coal and limestone as fuel for the lime kiln, still visible in the harbour. Donkeys would pull wooden sledges, still used to this day, for carrying goods down the cobbled streets. Nowadays coal for heating is no longer brought in by sea, but hauled down by these same sledges. In the still of a winter afternoon, with few visitors around, the sun setting behind the trees, the smoke from open fires hanging low- one can still get a feel for what life was like all those years ago.
Fish would be gutted on the shore. Men would mend their nets and leave them hanging to dry on the harbour walls. Herring would be salted down and packed into barrels. The red and brown sails would be stored in the sail lofts. Lobster pots would be made of wicker. Old photographs in the Information Centre show such evocative scenes, the harbour packed with fishing boats and visiting craft- the latter plying their trade along the North Devon Coast, and across to South Wales.
Stay in the Red Lion or Up,long in the New Inn- both so full of character. Have a meal in the Harbour restaurant. In season take a fishing trip, or an excursion along the rugged coast. Walk along the pebbly foreshore to see the Waterfall, behind which is Merlin's Cave- well that is what local folklore tells us. At Christmas the Harbour is decked out with its own special Illuminations. Finally wear sensible footwear and take care on your visit to so beautiful Clovelly.
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