Clovelly Herring Festival always falls in November. It’s the time of year when our historic village celebrates the coming of the great “Silver Darlings”, better known as Herring. We celebrate and promote this tasty, nutritious fish whilst supporting sustainable fishing. The village always depended on the harvest of herring, caught in superb condition for a short season off this coast. Records go back over 400 years and in 1749 there were about a hundred herring boats in the port. When fishing was good, 9000 herring could be landed at one time. Those days of massive catches are long gone. These days we have just two herring fishermen, both employing sustainable fishing methods using only drift nets and long lines.
The Maritime historian and writer, Mike Smylie, attends with his “Kipperland” exhibition, which is devoted to the history of all things herring. Mike also turns the herring into delicate-tasting kippers and bloaters in his smokehouse for sale.
Flaxland was unfortunately unable to join the event last year, but will do this year with their exhibitions and demonstrations. An opportunity to discover how the flax plant is used to make a vast range of goods.
On the quay, kitchens serve a variety of delicious herring specialities along with beer tastings, local food and craft stalls. And throughout the day there will be live music, street entertainers, face-painting & henna tattoos, and an exhibition of Clovelly herring fishing.
You can also learn how to handcraft bowls from sea debris at the ‘Beach clean’ bowl workshops. Clearing beach debris keep it free from ropes and nets, which are harmful to wildlife and sea creatures. Washhouse Studio is fully supplied with equipment from Beach Care and Keep Britain Tidy to organise beach cleans with the local general public. All such debris gets collected and taken back to the studio so it can be re-used to make beautiful bowls.
Sustainable Fish education will have tasters and information on cooking herrings and information on their current projects.
There will also be a North Devon Hospice 3km Fun Run along Hobby Drive. To take part nearer the time, please sign up online at https://www.northdevonhospice.org.uk/ or contact them on 01271347232.
The Clovelly Herring Festival features in lots of publications and TV programmes and is one of the best five autumn food festivals.