Village gears up for annual herring festival

CLOVELLY is to pay tribute to its own “Silver Darlings” at a special annual festival later this month.

The village is inviting visitors to sample great-tasting fish and other local produce at the Herring Festival, on Sunday, November 21.

Traditionally fished at Clovelly since 1602, the Clovelly herring was traditionally sold all over England.

The village once depended on the harvest of herring and in 1749, there were a 100 herring boats in the port, landing in the region of 9,000 fish at one time.

Today, just two herring fishermen continue to net them in the local bay using the age-old sustainable fishing traditions of drift nets and long lines.

The festival takes place from 10am to 4pm and will feature live shanty music, poetry and Celtic verse.

Maritime historian and writer, Mike Smylie, will be there with his “Kipperland” exhibition, which is devoted to the history of the herring. He will also be turning herring into delicious and delicate-tasting kippers and bloaters in his smokehouse.

Simon and Ann Cooper of Flaxland will bring along a traditional curach boat and demonstrate flax processing, net making and knitting with flax.

Quay kitchens will be serving a variety of herring specialities and there’ll be wet fish for sale too along with other local food and craft stalls.

Other attractions will include a mysterious crystal creature, photo exhibition of Clovelly herring fishing, craft activities and archive footage of Clovelly screened in the North Devon Movie Bus.