Clovelly tractor does the donkey work

A new John Deere for the seaside village means the four-footed carriers need not worry about coming out of retirement!

A new tractor at Clovelly is doing the donkey work carrying essential supplies up the steep village street so that its four footed counterparts need have no fear of being pressed back into service!

Crucial items including barrels of beer are being toted up the 400 foot high cobbled street by a new John Deere 5055E tractor purchased by estate owner and managing director, The Hon. John Rous.

He was seeking a new tractor to carry out the key tasks of ferrying beer to the village’s two pubs, the New Inn and the Red Lion as well as general maintenance around the estate.

In times past and as recently as the 1990s the job of moving freight up and down the cobbles was down to the Clovelly donkeys.


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Hand-pulled sledges are still used by residents on occasion, but these days the donkeys are a visitor attraction.

“We needed a reliable machine of a decent size and power, with a good lift capacity,” explained John Rous.

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“It had to be capable of carrying a link box on the rear linkage to take heavy beer barrels and gas cylinders, as we can’t use a trailer because the main street is too steep and narrow.

“We also wanted four-wheel drive, for extra safety as we didn’t want it to get stuck on the cobbles or the back service road. In addition to beer and gas cylinders, we use the tractor to carry laundry from the hotels as well as rubbish from the harbour up to the recycling sheds.”

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