The Clovelly Herring Festival is one of the largest and best loved events in Clovelly’s calendar. Featured extensively on TV and in the press (see below) the Herring Festival celebrates the past and present traditions of this once most important of local commodities.
Clovelly was once a major centre for herring fishing and our annual Herring Festival is held to promote these tasty, nutritious ‘Silver Darlings’ and support carefully managed fishing as carried out by our local fishermen. The village once depended on the harvest of herring, which are caught in superb condition for a short season off its coast. Records go back over 400 years and in 1749, there were 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 and there remain just two herring fishermen who still employ sustainable fishing methods using drift nets and long lines.
Maritime historian and writer, Mike Smylie, will return 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.
There will also be net making, flax processing and a curragh on show provided by ‘Flaxland’.
Enjoy a wide variety of herring dishes in the quay kitchens or at the Harbour Bar, cookery demonstrations, live shanty and sea song singers, stilted entertainers, other local food and craft stalls, a photographic exhibition of Clovelly herring fishing, a Herring Hunt, face painting, henna tattoosand National Trust event-themed, free craft activities.
Clovelly Herring Festival featured in: