Clovelly Estate


Our Page About Clovelly.

is our beautiful little Heritage Village built on a valley side in North Devon, South West England.

It is famous for three things :-

It's steep cobbled street ....

It's fishing harbour...........

And its long association with DONKEYS

Danny and Isaac waiting for Luggage

Kiwi and Donk posing for Photos at the New Inn

The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book and so is more than 900 years old.

There is an iron age settlement above the village at Clovelly Dykes.


From the mid 1880's the village was rescued from decay and restored by the lady of the village, Mrs Chrisitine Hamlyn.

She saved many cottages, had the stream culverted, the street completely cobbled and had mains water and electricity installed to every cottage. You can see her imagination in the charming finishing touches and the seats and wooden summer houses she built around the area. 

Looking Down on Temple Bar

 Looking Down Along

 Lilly Edwards' House

 Looking Up Along

The street is extremely steep and in places so narrow  that even today it is not possible to get motor vehicles into the village. 

In days gone by any goods that needed to be carried up the street were carried on the donkeys. The donkeys never carry goods down the street as the sledges are used for that.

The donkeys carried  the post, ash from peoples' fires, fish up the back road and many other things.

Tourism has been an important source of income for the villagers even before Mrs Hamlyn's time. It is the reason the donkeys are still here today. 

When donkeys fell out of use for other jobs and the fishing industry had declined the New Inn, in the centre of the village, still had all its goods carried up by donkeys. 

Until the 1990s the donkeys were still carrying up visitors' luggage, the empty bottles and beer barrels, laundry, cardboard and rubbish bags. For this they use our special pack saddles.

Kiwi and Barney Carrying Luggage.

For a while donkeys carried tourists up from the harbour to the fountain but this was stopped in the 1960s as adults (who are too heavy) were being allowed to ride the donkeys.

After the New Inn had changed hands several times the donkeys were left with just the luggage to carry, which they still do occasionally.

Today, in summer, the donkeys give childrens' rides around their meadow and can be seen posing for photos in the street. In winter the local children  ride and drive them in the woods.

At present there are 12 donkeys and 2 mules.

 Barney wearing a pack saddle. To meet the donkeys  click here.

Donkey Rides

Tandem Driving

 Out for a Ride

Official Clovelly Website Here is a link to find out more about Clovelly. It goes to the Donkeys page on the Official website of Clovelly Estate Ltd. There is information about visiting and staying in Clovelly and about activities that are going on.
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