Walked from: Hartland Quay, Devon
Walked to: Clovelly, Devon
Date: 21 February 2016
Distance: 13 miles
Weather: 30 mph winds…
Home for the night: New Inn Hotel, Clovelly
I’m staying in the lovely village of Clovelly (pronounced Clo-ve-lee) tonight. Dickens wrote about it back in the day, and as he wasn’t bad at the whole writing thing AND as it’s still accurate today, here’s what he said: “The village was built sheer up the face of a steep and lofty cliff. There was no road in, there was no wheeled vehicle in it, there was not a level yard in it. From the sea beach to the cliff top two irregular rows of white houses, placed opposite to one another… rose like the sides of a long succession of stages of crooked ladders.” The villagers carry everything they need in and out on plastic crates that have been turned into sleighs. Trust me, this is not a place you want to be wearing heels.
Getting here involved a few detours (long cuts?) off route, due to the unpromising combination of high winds and cliff edge walking. Thank to a couple of downloadable OS 25:000 maps I had a merry jaunt through some very muddy country footpaths, and even passed the Lundy Island Helicopter base (yes, I did have the shipping forecast stuck in my head for a while after that).
I attempted to get back on the coast path route after the very rugged looking Hartland Point, but as I rounded the corner by the nearby radar station a blast of wind reminded me in no uncertain terms why it wasn’t a great idea – back cross country I went, down some lonely lanes and across some pretty – and pretty muddy – fields. Got back on route by the woods at Brownsham, and a descent and ascent of the cliffs at Mouthmill (picture below) was thankfully sheltered by the trees acting as a windbreak.
My walking day was done by 2.30pm, so after a shower (and an attempt to scrape some of the mud off my waterproofs) I went for another walk down – and then back up again – the village. Everything apart from the pub / hotel that I’m staying in was shut, but I imagine it has a little more to say for itself in the summer, and regardless of that, it really is gorgeous. This really is a fantastic part of the world; I’ll be back.
Photos: Snowdrops near Blagdon Farm / view back to Hartland Point / Mouthmill beach / Clovelly / Clovelly’s version of cars / modern day donkeys!