Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Friday, 1 April 2016

Down-along with Donkeys

Clovelly is a quaint, and somewhat secluded fishing village, on the North Devon Coast, and parts of it have remained unchanged for hundreds of years. It’s very picturesque and a haven for tourists, painters and photographers. The cobbled main street is extremely steep and custom-made sledges are the main method of transporting essential goods; once it was the donkeys who did the work but they are now just part of the tourist attraction. There are no wheeled vehicles due to the gradient and narrowness of the street. There are many images on the Internet, because of its very popularity, but I decided to look through my postcard collection for something different. I do have photos from the 1970s but they are quite boring by comparison.


This one, probably from the 1960s, quite rightly, puts a photo of a donkey centre stage. The main street is called Up-along or Down-along and is lined with pretty cottages and little narrow lanes. The village was falling into decay until the new owner, Christine Hamlyn, carried out some much-needed restoration and modernisation around 1900.


Judging by the fashions in this one I’d guess it was around the late 1950s or early 60s.


Whereas this heavily colourised version could perhaps be the 1970s. I’m no expert and these are rather wild guesses.


I know the date of this one because I sent it to my parents, twenty three year ago - almost exactly- whilst on an Easter break. It’s postmarked 14 Apr 1993 and I wrote the message at 12.05 p.m. How’s that for precision? Even better, I told them I was sitting on the harbour wall, having just walked ‘Down-a long' and was enjoying a clotted cream ice-cream (a Devon speciality) - with a chocolate ‘Flake’  (Are you all hungry now?). The sun was shining and it was apparently ‘like a Summer’s Day’ - It’s almost as if we were there isn’t it?


This harbour view, from an original watercolour by Brian Gerald, shows how steepness of the cliff to which Clovelly clings. See also the online Clovelly guide here.


I’m not sure about this one; it’s from a watercolour by Kevin Platt, and has a somewhat naive quality to it. It looks as though this is where Down-along widens and opens out into the harbour.

This week on Sepia Saturday we are wandering down-along memory lane; there will be picture postcards a-plenty and some refreshment for sure.



16 comments:

  1. What a lovely group of postcards. Now you've wet my appetite & I'm going to have to go online & look for other photographs or postcards of Clovelly. Even the name sounds picturesque! :)

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  2. These are particularly charming postcards! I never went to Clovelly and suppose it would be too touristy for my taste, now, but I rather wish I had gone as a child!

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  3. All of these are so colorful and full of life, very precious moments. A most enjoyable and interesting post and I believe your good guess is very accurate, I'd save the 70's too.

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  4. On our 1970s visit we go so soaked by a downpour that, when we walked into the pub halfway up, they rushed to get us towels to mop ourselves dry - probably to save their carpets!

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  5. Those are gorgeous photos. An attractive view of the past.

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  6. This is now a place on my wanderlust bucket list. :)

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  7. I've added it to my list too...for a walking holiday. Thanks for this.

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  8. Clovelly looks very picturesque, as they say, and after reading your blog and Alan's, its definitely on my list of places to visit, but it won't be on our upcoming trip because every day of our three week stay is pretty much accounted for already. There's a little beach in Sydney called Clovelly.

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  9. How quaint! It looks like a place that would be more fun to visit than to live in, but still is very picturesque. I always wonder about the locals...how do they fare with the tourists? Glad it was upgraded a century ago, and I hope it's been done again since!

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  10. Very nice collection of postcards. It does look like ones legs would be screaming after walking up the hill.

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  11. Such pretty postcards. Love the subtle colouring. The postcard you wrote to your parents at 12.05 is a great memory for you. A pretty town a little like in "Dr Martin" up and down the narrow roads.

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  12. Lovely Clovelly. The residents must have a good sense of humor to name their streets Up-along and Down-along.

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  13. A super guide to an unfamiliar place. The steep lanes present a challenge to photographers and artists to get the best perspective.

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  14. I checked online and found that for awhile there were no donkeys. Then an industrious (?) couple decided to bring them back. They also now charge to walk through the town.

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    1. That’s because the village is privately owned and needs to be maintained, in a similar way to a stately home under the National Trust or English Heritage. The entrance fee include two museums and gardens and an audio-visual display.

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  15. I'd never heard of Clovelly before, England is full of surprises!

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