Highampton Local History Group


Charles welcomed back well-known Devon author, Liz Shakespeare, who gave us an interesting talk entitled ‘Reflections’, the River Torridge in Poetry and Prose.

Liz gave us a short history of several poets and authors who live or have lived in Devon and have penned works about the river Torridge.  These ranged from the Rev John Swete, born in 1752, through Charles Kingsley, Henry Williamson (the author of Tarka the Otter), Ted Hughes (at one time Poet Laureate) up to Michael Morpurgo (former Children’s Laureate and author of War Horse) who lives in Iddesleigh.  She also read out extracts from several books by these and a number of other authors, including her own book, “All Around the Year”.  All are listed below for your interest.

Rev John Swete: Travels in Georgian Devon, vol 3

Charles Kingsley: Westward Ho!

Edward Capern: Wayside Warbles

Vernon Boyle: Songs and Verses

Herbert Asquith: A Ship Sails up to Bideford

Henry Williamson: Tarka the Otter

Ted Hughes: River

Michael Morpurgo

Charles Tomlinson: The Return

Liz Shakespeare: All Around the Year

Liz also recommended to the members ‘A Breath of Moonscent’, Memories of a Devon Childhood by Allan Boxall: a lyrical memoir of wartime and post-war rural Devon seen through the questing eyes of a young boy.  Flyers for this were available giving details of how to purchase a copy and Liz also had her own books on display for sale.

The evening closed with the usual refreshments.

2019: July to December


Copyright © site designed by the late Simon Ward and managed by his wife Carole

Back to top


Charles welcomed Lisa Butt from Devon Wildlife Trust who gave us a very informative and illustrated talk on the work of the Trust to promote the protection of nature in our modern busy world.

Lisa is working on a project to improve and maintain Culm Grassland, specifically in the Torridge catchment area, and illustrated the sites locally, now and in times past, clearly showing how the areas have declined.  Since the 1950s we have lost 90% of the Culm grassland.

The soil where Culm grows is acidic and nutrient poor but is important for the wildflowers and reeds that flourish there which in turn encourage and support butterflies, birds, numerous species of insect and animals.  The Trust works to regenerate the areas through controlled burn, fencing, reseeding and scrub clearance.  Without the controlled burn, areas would quickly be taken over by scrub and particularly willows and eventually, the grassland would become woodland.

The Trust also gives advice and assistance to farmers and landowners on maintaining Culm.  Groups of volunteers help with scrub clearance, hedge laying and other tasks and any help from volunteers is always welcome.

If you would like more information, please visit the Trust’s website: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org

The evening closed with the usual refreshments.


It was decided not to have a meeting in August as so many members were away on holiday.