I’ve not been Clovelly for over 60 years and things have changed, a new intrusive visitor centre and more commercial development, but tonight I’m staying in The New Inn in the centre of the village after all the visitors have gone. There is no traffic down the cobbled street and I’m able to explore the lanes and cottages from a time past. Everything is brought in by sledge. Going back those 60 years to touring in the SW with my parents I remember collecting triangular car stickers from all the popular villages. Simple pleasures, must look in the attic.
It’s not been an easy day, a 1000m ascent and descent over 12miles. The ups and downs of the coastal path kick in and remind my leg muscles of whats to come.
The bus trip had me tuning into the friendly local accents once more. With its name taken from the novel by Charles Kingsley, Westward Ho! is the only place in Britain with an exclamation mark in its name. An easy but dull walk out of Westward Ho! with references to Rudyard Kipling, a one time resident, extracts from his ‘IF’ poem are embedded into the promenade alongside some fine beach huts.
At the end of the promenade was the spooky deserted haunted house pointed out to me by a local resident.
Soon the climbs start, down steps and then back up more. Lundy Island is prominent out to sea. Ahead Hartland Point is visible with the white cottages of Clovelly reaching down to the coast. Looking back I make out the Woolacombe headlands.
In places the path disappears into tunnels of gorse and thorn, an Alice in Wonderland experience. Whole armies could pass here unnoticed.
For lunch I sat on an uncomfortable stone above Peppercombe Beach, as is usual within 1/4 mile there was a picnic bench above the real Peppercombe.
Up and down in woods and fields above red cliffs, the path slippy from recent rain, a glimpse of holiday houses at Bucks Mills which turned out to be a great little harbour with lime kilns from times past. An unexpected coffee from a window was very welcome. A waterfall on the beach, a lady shrimping in the sea, an artists hut – I was in no rush.
Then steeply back up into the woods on arduous muddy tracks.
Eventually and thankfully I join the estate track which gives easier contoured walking arriving high above Clovelly. It was late in the day and only a few tourists were dragging themselves back up to the car park. I walked down the cobbles past lovely cottages to the quayside and back to my traditional inn for a peaceful night.
The frequent mention of ups and downs resonates, but unique scenery and always something to see. I bet that coffee window was a magic find. What has that person got over (her?) shoulder in the photo?
A shrimping net, she was the lady from the beach. I gleaned a lot of local history from her.