Clovelly - An English Fishing Village

Simon Groves

Joined May 2010

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Artist's Description

A Harbour Scene with seagulls.

Oil on Canvas
24 inches (60 cm) long

8Clovelly*

Clovelly is a village on the North Devon coast, England, about 12 miles west of Bideford. 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.

The village itself is not accessible by motor vehicle and space at the harbour is extremely limited. Visitors usually 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 Barnstaple, Bideford and Hartland.

The estate is run by the Clovelly Estate Company, under the leadership of The Hon. John Rous and Jessica Braund.

The visitor centre has been operational since 1988, before which there was no entrance fee to access the village, instead a car park fee. As of summer 2010, the entrance fee is £5.95 for adults and £3.75 for children. The fee covers all-day car parking, entry to two museums in the village, Kingsley Museum and Fisherman’s Cottage, and a 15-minute film show telling the story of Clovelly, and use of the facilities in the visitor centre and down the cobbled street.

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 a costly business because the buildings are all repaired using traditional materials and craftmanship). However, there are discrepancies to these claims, and indeed to the justification of charging a fee to walk down the village street. Critics of the post-1988 management claim that the Clovelly Estate Company has no legal basis in imposing a charge for visitors simply wishing to walk down the street (and not to visit or make use of other facilities such as the museum or film show), because the street has been adopted and is repaired by Torridge District Council. There is also a public road leading down to the harbour and ending before the cark park. The area beyond this road, including the harbour car park, is private property.

The visitor centre opens at 09:00 every day in the peak summer season. If visitors arrive before this time, it is possible to visit the village free of charge via a gate outside the visitor centre which is unlocked during non-business hours.

Artwork Comments

  • Brendan Schoon
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  • © Karin Taylor
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  • Veikko  Suikkanen
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