Moving to a new area is a treat.
When I knew I would be moving down to North Devon for the summer, I began swotting up on things to do in the area, downloading the Lonely Planet guide and taking a trip to the tourist information as soon as I arrived. I’m a geek for local leaflets.
Top of many of the recommendations was a trip to the private village of Clovelly, around 10 miles from Bideford on the South West Coast Path.
Clovelly is famous for its steep, cobbled streets and working fishing harbour and my Lonely Planet guide detailed a lush sounding place to get a cream tea with a sea view. I was sold and hopped on the bus from Bideford to Clovelly (45mins, £4.70 for a North Devon day ticket).
Craft Workshops and Donkeys
On paying the entrance fee (a steep £7.50), I’m given a little map pointing out the main places of interest.
After cruising through the touristy reception area, I began my walk with a nose in the donkey sheds, before stumbling across a series of craft workshops from potters to soap makers. I paused to watch a lady throw pots with delicate grace to a small audience and checked out the finished articles in the upstairs studios.
Cobbled Streets and an old Fishermans Cottage
Beyond the studio, the path got steeper, passing by Mount Pleasant and a stone fountain memorial to Queen Victoria, before opening out to a beautiful little collection of cottages.
One of the most striking is the 17th Century New Inn pub which is decorated in the Arts and Crafts style.
An old Fisherman’s cottage has opened up as a museum, and you can duck inside to learn about the significance fishing has played in the village, as well as learning about the author Charles Kingsley (who wrote the novel Westward Ho!, my neighbouring village) who lived in Clovelly for a short time.
I continued the steep walk passed the Oberammergau Cottage, ornately decorated with colourful wood carvings from Germany.
The cobbled lane culminates at the harbour, where folk were feasting on ice creams or treating themselves to lunch at the Red Lion Inn. If you don’t fancy a slog back up the hill, you can catch a Landrover from next to the pub to save your weary feet.
I followed the signs to the Lifeboat House, past cosy houses and down to the rocky beach. A short scramble across the stones led me to a small waterfall, where I watch excited children take it in turns to do funny poses for the camera.
On my way back up, I ducked into The Cottage Tearoom, just off the main street for a cheeky Devon cream tea with sea views and enjoy a couple of chapters of my book.
With the main tour bus crowds gone for the day, I pretty much had the streets to myself as I hiked my way back up to the visitor centre.
The ticket price also includes entry to Clovelly Court Gardens, a short walk away and awash with spring colour.
Despite the steep entrance fee, I loved my day to Clovelly and I’m left imagining what life was like when Charles Kingsley was writing his novel, watching the fisherman come back from the sea, and the donkeys pulling up their heavy loads on the old cobbled streets.