Every year the stunning but tiny village of Clovelly celebrates its seafood and fishing heritage by hosting The Crab and Lobster Festival.
Take a little peek at the festivities and this glorious part of North Devon…
North Devon’s hidden gem
Clovelly is a working fishing village overlooking Bideford Bay, owned by the Rous family for over 400 years. Fresh catches arrive in at the harbour at the bottom of a very, very steep cobbled path that zig zags down a cliff face lined with tiny cottages.
The way goods are transported up and down the steep cobbled streets is by donkey! No joke, lots of donkeys with little sledges walking up and down the hill.
At the top of the hill is the stable and you can go in and pet the donkeys that are resting. They were so cute, really well cared for and lovely being tickled.
The stables are next to an art studio and some tiny cute shops selling beautiful hand made goods like soap and pottery. The estate would be worth a visit even if you went when the festival isn’t on. It’s so historic and I’ve never seen anywhere like it before.
First of all, you’ve got to make it down the cobbled streets, take it easy as you go because those cobbles are well worn and slippery, oh and make sure you stop to look at the stunning homes as you go.
Top tip – wear sensible shoes, I wore flip flops and it was hard work and extremely slippery. I slipped a couple of times on the way down!
Each little home in the terrace has such character, they’re different colours, are all landscaped differently and are just so unique. There’s a pub about half way down and a little shop and then another big pub in the harbour at the bottom.
Here’s a couple of the homes and quirky features along the path down to the bay. I had to share them because they really are so quintessentially British!
The seafood festival
When we were nearly at the bottom, we turned a corner into the bay and were greeted by song. There was an all male band singing sea shanties out across the beach! There were brilliant and set the scene instantly, that sort of thing isn’t really my thing but it was perfect for the setting.
After the warm welcome from the sea shanties, we had an extra special welcome from the brightly coloured lady lobsters tottering around on stilts at the entrance to the Red Lion pub.
The edge of the harbour had a big walkway along it that was lined with stalls (the white canopies below), some selling gin, others handmade jewellery and trinkets and then the rest of them were selling seafood hauled up the side, fresh from the little fishing boats bobbing about in the bay!
Smells of garlic and fresh fish wafted its way around the bay and was totally intoxicating. It was such a lovely day too, the sun was shining so everyone was sitting outside, enjoying a pint or a gin and scoffing some seafood.
If you look in the picture above, you can see a line of floats that are blue, red and white in-between the boats in the centre. There was a competition all day to run across it and the winners were anyone who could run along the wobbly line and reach the end. Most people who attempted it barely got half way, it was unbelievably tricky! The best person we saw ran it really quickly but ended up in the water three quarters of the way along.
We queued up for the food and as we got to the front they’d run out of lobster and crab and were waiting for another boat to arrive with fresh supplies. It’s also when we found out they didn’t have a cash machine or accept card. We were so unprepared – eek!
This is where I’ll add my top tips for the festival – arrive early, by the time we got there very little seafood was left because it was so busy. Also, it is essential to take cash, the pubs don’t do cash back so we were scuppered!
We had a great day, even if we didn’t get to sample the seafood, we will have to go back this year, and I’ll be ready with cash and trainers time! 😂😂😂
Oh, and one last thing, be prepared for the hike back up the hill, we had to stop twice, it’s beastly. Your calves will burn, but that’s part of the fun!
Think about heading down this year? Take a look at this gorgeous film they’ve put together from the festival…