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Things to Do in Clovelly & Hartland

In Clovelly, follow the street as it descends through solid rock to a tiny harbour and lifeboat station, both protected by an ancient stone breakwater. In bygone days goods were carried up the steep main street and alleys by donkeys, but today these famous residents give rides to children and pose for photographs while, for a small fee, a Land Rover service ferries visitors up and down the steep hill via a back road.

Nearby is the 13,000 acre Hartland Peninsula, one of the largest royal manors in the Saxon times of King Alfred. A walk from Hartland Quay to Hartland Point is a great introduction to the peninsula. Come rain or shine, this is a magnificent jaunt, which starts at the pretty quay close to ancient Hartland Abbey. The route then takes you along a three-mile switchback to the lighthouse at Hartland Point. It’s strenuous up-and-down walking but the views more than compensate, with glimpses of Lundy Island.

Snug though Hartland is, the town is well worth exploring. This is a town that boasts a vibrant artistic scene (with galleries and workshops to visit), an excellent selection of independent shops, and a fascinating history.  History buffs can get their fill by following the Harton Borough Heritage Trail, which takes walkers through the town, bringing Hartland’s story to life through its buildings, streets and public spaces.

Art lovers will enjoy visiting the town’s workshops and galleries. The first port of call will most likely be Springfield Pottery. It’s run by Philip and Frannie Leach, who belong to an extraordinary dynasty of West Country potters. Philip is the grandson of pottery legend, Bernard Leach (who first made his name in the St Ives of Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood), while Frannie trained with Philip’s father, Michael. You’re welcome to visit the workshop, talk to Phil and Frannie, and discover more about their influences – which include Iran, where Philip ran student workshops for six years! There’s also the White Hare Studio gallery, home of artist Clive Brocklehurst, Merlyn Chesterman’s gallery at 2 Harton Manor, and the bespoke furniture and cabinets of James Morley.

This beautiful part of North Devon is perfect for those looking for rural tranquillity yet is within easy reach of the magnificent coastline of both North Devon and Cornwall and many famous attractions including RHS gardens Rosemoor and Dartington Crystal.