clovelly village flowers clovelly village from the sea
clovelly harbour through the arch harbour view


The dramatic view from the coast path above Clovelly Harbour illustrates one of the reasons why this village is so unique. The whole village is wedged into a fold in the cliffs. People have lived here since the Iron Age, but the Saxons named it “Cleave Leigh”, old English for ‘cleft in the cliff’. Clovelly is part of a private estate, once owned by the wife of William the Conqueror and listed in the Domesday Book, and has been in the ownership of but three families in the last 800 years.

This straggling village of irregular, gleaming white cottages with lichen-covered slate roofs, clings to each side of the cleft. The traffic-free street, paved with cobbles hauled up from the shore, descends steeply in a series of terraces to a tiny fishing port, once famous for its herring catches, and its ancient wave-worn quay. The only forms of transport you will see at Clovelly are sledges and donkeys.

Clovelly remains a vibrant community, which enjoys a way of life that visitors can but envy. They say it is this atmosphere, the stunning views and the maritime setting, which live on in their memories.

Despite its tranquillity, there is much to see and do: an audio-visual film of the history of the village at the award-winning Visitor’s Centre, shops, traditional craft workshops, the museum dedicated to Charles Kingsley, author of ‘Westward Ho!’ and ‘Water Babies’, who spent part of his childhood here, a cottage replicating the life of a fishing family in the C19th, a Victorian kitchen garden at Clovelly Court, the manor house, and much more. For instance, there is a series of exciting events to attend. The main ones are the Maritime Festival in July, Lifeboat Weekend in August, the Lobster and Crab (Clovellian, of course) Feast in September and the Herring Festival in November. They are great days out for all the family.

You can even take a boat trip along the dramatic coastline or to Lundy Island . Alternatively, enjoy the magnificent views from a cliff top walk along ‘ Hobby Drive ’ or west towards ‘Gallantry Bower’.

For those who do not want to walk back up, there is a fare-paying Land Rover service for much of the year to return you to the top of the village.

Two pretty inns, both licensed for civil wedding ceremonies, offer really comfortable accommodation in charming en suite bedrooms, no two of which are quite the same, as well as delicious snacks, lunches, Devon cream teas and dinners. Ideally stay the night and be absorbed into the tranquillity of a quiet community:

The C18th Red Lion Hotel , situated on the quayside: Tel: 01237 431237. Email:

The C17th New Inn, situated in the heart of the village: Tel: 01237 431303. Email:

Clovelly lies nine miles west of Bideford on the A39 towards Bude. Turn off at Clovelly Cross and follow the signs to the Clovelly and the Visitor Centre car park.

Open all year. Summer opening times: 09:00 - 6:30

For further information, please consult: or Tel: 01237 431781

Clovelly wins Countryfile Best Heritage Attraction Award 2012

The Hon. John Rous said today how delighted he and the other villagers were to have Clovelly voted as “ Best Heritage Attraction ” by the viewers and readers of “Countryfile”. He went on, “ It is a great honour and I believe reflects not just the unique beauty of the place, but also that Clovelly is a "living village" with full-time occupancy a condition of tenancy." "As a privately owned village, we hope to take a long term view of any development and combine respect for our fishing tradition with an ability to adapt to changing circumstances. For instance we have a festival at the beginning of September to celebrate our good fortune in having some of the country's finest lobsters and crabs, which we catch in the bay just outside the harbour and in November we celebrate our gratitude for the annual arrival of the large shoals of herring with our Herring Festival. These "silver darlings" were once our major source of income." "We are glad to know that Clovelly is held so fondly by so many people, not just in this country, but throughout the world.” 

And. . . . .

"In Search of England "

H V Morton wrote this book, published in 1926, which was a best seller.

In it, Clovelly was described as "just too quaint" and little has changed in almost 100 years since.

The broadcaster, John McCarthy, has been following H V Morton's travels and recorded a programme at Clovelly, which includes interviews with celebrity actor, Joss Ackland CBE, The Hon. John Rous, owner of the estate, Stephen Perham, Harbour Master and Niall Taylor, member of the HV Morton Society and author of website 


the cobbled street of clovelly

Clovelly Events 2015 - SEE EVENT CALENDAR

Bed and Breakfast. All rooms have tea and coffee making facilities and a colour television. Burscott is a quiet no through lane so only the birds singing in the garden and fields will wake you in the morning! The uninterrupted views of the countryside makes Pillowery Park the perfect setting for your stay in North Devon. The house is strictly Non Smoking and has no facilities for pets
near Bideford/Clovelly
Holiday Caravans for hire
Suitable for anything up to fourteen guests, as with two caravans only one caravan distance apart, friends or family can holiday together.

Clovelly in Autumn

Clovelly in Devon one autumn morning in 2003. The best place on earth!





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