If you are planning a holiday in North Devon, you simply cannot pass on a visit to Clovelly. Here’s what you should know in advance if you want to make the most of your visit. After all, it is one of the best places to visit in Devon simply because of it’s beauty and historic value.
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What is Clovelly?
Clovelly is a small fishing village and an outdoor museum in one. It’s one of the rare coastal towns in North Devon that remain intact and weren’t radically changed by tourism and hotel chains.
The village has made it its mission to retain its original character and has a special vetting process over who to allow to live in the historic buildings and what shops to allow.
Clovelly is famous for its steep cobbled streets that lead down to a picturesque harbour. The village has a rich maritime history, and its main industries were fishing and smuggling in the past. Today, it is a popular tourist destination, with visitors drawn to its charming streets, traditional cottages, and stunning views of the sea.
One unique feature of Clovelly is that motorized vehicles are not allowed on its streets. Instead, goods are transported through the village on sledges, pulled by donkeys. This gives the village a timeless, old-world feel and makes it a truly special place to visit.
Where is Clovelly located?
Clovelly is a fishing village located in the Torridge district of North Devon, England, about 9 miles west of the town of Bideford. It sits right on a cliff overlooking the coast of the Bristol Channel and its main street goes all the way down towards the pebble beach. It has its own harbour.
To enter the village, you have to pay an entrance fee. There is a big parking lot out front.
How to get to Clovelly
It’s easiest with a car as there is a big parking lot at the information centre. Parking fees are included in the entry price.
Alternatively, you can arrive here by bus as well. There is a bus stop at the parking and one further up in the village. Check bus schedules here.
If you need info on how to best get around by bus in Devon, I’ve got you covered too.
Is visiting Clovelly free?
No. To get into the village, you have to pay an admission fee. This allows you to also enter some house museums, visit the village donkeys and get all the way down to the beach and waterfall.
Why is there a fee?
Since the historic Clovelly has made it its mission to retain its original character and is an official historical landmark, the fee is to help with regular upkeep and maintenance measures.
Is it wheelchair accessible?
Not really. The village was built on a 400ft cliff with no lifts, vernicular or streets for cars. The alleys of Clovelly are also made from cobblestones. It’s already bumpy and a bit slippery to walk on as is. So the main village itself cannot be visited with a wheelchair.
The entrance building, however, is also an information centre with a tourist shop and cafe. From here, you can get to concrete streets that lead to Covellys workshops and artisan shops as well as the donkeys.
For more accessible information, click here.
Why are there donkeys in Clovelly?
Donkeys have been a part of Clovelly, a village in Devon, England, for centuries. The donkeys were traditionally used to transport goods up and down the steep cobbled streets of the village, as motorized vehicles were not able to navigate the narrow and winding pathways.
Today, the donkeys of Clovelly continue to be a part of the village’s charm and character. Visitors can take rides on the donkeys, which are well-cared for by their owners and are a popular attraction for tourists.
You can see them after leaving the information center. Their stables are next to the workshops.
In addition to their historical and cultural significance, the presence of the donkeys also serves another practical purpose in the village, as they help to keep the narrow streets clean by eating any vegetation that grows between the cobbles.
Can you stay in Clovelly?
Yes, there are hotels in Clovelly, Devon. Clovelly is a popular tourist destination on the north coast of Devon, England, and there are several accommodation options available in the village and the surrounding area.
Some of the hotels in Clovelly include The Red Lion Hotel*, The New Inn*, and The Old Smithy Bed & Breakfast*.
Additionally, there are many other hotels and guesthouses in nearby towns such as Bideford, Barnstaple, and Westward Ho! that are within a short driving distance to Clovelly.
Hike to Clovelly Mouthmill Beach
Since you are already here and in such a stunning location, why not plan a little coastal hike from Clovelly to the nearby Mouthmaill Beach? Clovelly’s own beach has a little waterfall that is worth a visit, but the hike across the top of the cliffs will lead you to another stretch of the coast with a historic limekiln from the 18th century.
The limekiln was used to create mortars and limewash since limestone is not common along Devon’s coastline and had to be shipped over from Wales. Many of the buildings in North Devon are made from such products.
There is not all that much left of the former buildings but you can still visit the ruins right by the beach. There are some interesting rocks jutting out of the water by the beach as well.
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