A day at Clovelly, Devon

Clovelly is a village in the Torridge district of DevonEngland. It is a major tourist attraction, famous for its history and beauty, its extremely steep car-free cobbled main street, donkeys and its location looking out over the Bristol Channel. Thick woods shelter it and render the climate so mild that even tender plants flourish. As of the 2001 Census, the ward of Clovelly Bay, including Clovelly, had a total population of 1,616.[1]

The village itself is not accessible by motor vehicle and space at the harbour is limited to hotel residents and locals with permits. Visitors park at the visitor centre car park above the village, at the end of the B3237 road; service buses make calls at the car park also. The visitor centre consists of a cafe, gift, book and fudge shops. There are a number of tourist-oriented shop units at the car park. Visitors enter the village through the visitor centre. A taxi service operates in summer using Land Rover vehicles, between the car park and the harbour. There is a public road down to the harbour (followed by the Land Rover taxi), although parking at the bottom is all private, and there is a sign warning visitors against going down that road. Clovelly Visitor Centre car park is served by Stagecoach Bus service 319 between BarnstapleBideford and Hartland.Access

The estate is run by the Clovelly Estate Company, under the leadership of the Hon. John Rous, a descendant of the Hamlyn family who have owned the village, estate and manor house Clovelly Court since 1738. He is the son of the Hon. Mary Rous and Keith Rous, the 5th Earl of Stradbroke.

Visitors are told that revenues raised from the entrance fee are used to fund the constant maintenance of the village cottages. Caring for the village is said to be expensive since the buildings are all repaired using traditional materials and craftmanship. Due to the severely restricted vehicle access, builders often quote up to double the standard price for repairs.

Critics of the post-1988 management claim that the Clovelly Estate Company has no legal basis for imposing a charge on visitors simply wishing to walk down the street and not wishing to visit or make use of other facilities. The street itself is owned and maintained by Devon County Council. There is also a public road leading down to the harbour and ending before the cark park. Only the area beyond this road, including the harbour car park, is private property.

Clovelly used to be a fishing village and in 1901 had a population of 621. It is a cluster of wattle and daub cottages on the sides of a rocky cleft; its steep main street descends 400 feet (120 m) to the pier, too steeply to allow wheeled traffic. Sledges are used for the movement of goods. The quaint street is lined with houses, a small number of shops, a cafe and a public house. All Saints’ Church, restored in 1866, is late Norman, containing several monuments to the Cary familyLords of the Manor for 600 years.

Unusually, the village is still privately owned and has been associated with only three families since the middle of the 13th century, nearly 800 years. The scenery is famous for its richness of colour, especially in the grounds of Clovelly Court and along The Hobby, a road cut through the woods and overlooking the sea. The South West Coast PathNational Trail runs past the village and the section from Clovelly to Hartland Quay is particularly spectacular.

Deliveries by sledge

The impossibility of getting vehicular access to the main street has led to deliveries being made by sledge. This is not done as a tourist attraction but as a matter of practicality. Goods being delivered are pulled down the hill from an upper car park. Refuse is pulled down the hill to a waiting vehicle at the harbour.

Text by Wikipedia


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