Clovelly A springtime sunrise

I had wanted to capture the beauty of this old fishing village – now a popular tourist attraction – for a long time. My feeling was that, in the right light, it could be North Devon's answer to the Cinque Terre. But to catch the light you have to choose the right time of year and a clear morning. Since it's north-east facing, that right time of year is late Spring, when the sun rises early. So one Sunday morning in early May this year, I was up at 4am to drive the 20 miles from Barnstaple in the hope of getting lucky. Was I? Read on to find out.

My first concern on arrival was whether I'd actually be able to get into Clovelly in the first place. It's a living museum, for want of a better term, so access during the day is through a turnstile after paying a £7 admission fee. Fortunately for me, the side gate is left open overnight, so my way down was clear. I looked for a box in which I could make a donation, incidentally, but to no avail. Walking down the hill, just a solitary cat stirred.

Looking down (left) and back up Clovelly's steep cobbled street

The sun was, alas, going to rise through cloud on the horizon.

The view from above the harbour, looking back towards Westward Ho!

It might have been very early on a Sunday morning, but local fishermen clearly didn't feel the need for a lie-in.

Clovelly is best seen from the harbour wall. This was my first view. The village really seems to tumble down the hillside.

Looking out to sea, the sun rises as a lone yacht sets off across Bideford Bay:

Suddenly, like a light switch being flicked, the sun came out and the village was bathed in golden early-morning light:

Walking around the sea wall, I chanced to spot another sailor paddling across the harbour towards his boat:

As the sun rose, the light strengthened and the whitewashed cottages really sparkled:

A couple of detail shots...

Squatting down on the beach and holding my camera just above the pebbles, here's a low-level shot:

With the day firmly broken, it was time to retrace my steps up the hill, admiring the floral displays on my way:

As high cloud gathered, I neared the top of the village street:

The path up the hill was still deserted but, once the turnstiles opened, it would once more be thronged with tourists. I was very lucky to have it to myself.

This has been my first try with Adobe Spark, a new story-telling app from the makers of Photoshop and Lightroom. I hope you like it; I'm certainly impressed.

Created By
Dominic Brenton
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