Highampton Local History Group



Charles introduced Simon Dell who gave the group a very entertaining illustrated talk entitled, The Georgian Dartmoor Improvers. A look at how the Georgian era impacted on Dartmoor, from farming, quarrying, the building of roads and leets to supply water to Plymouth, granite tramways and a look at how French prisoners of war were housed on ships at sea to the building of Dartmoor Prison at Princes Town (Princetown).

A very interesting walk through the Georgian era through to the beginning of the Victorian era.

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



Charles introduced Michael Ireland who gave a very interesting and informative illustrated talk on the Okehampton Railway Line – from its beginnings 150 years ago to its current use and future reopening! Services started on 9th Jan 1867 and closed on the 5th June 1972 – after which the line was used for agri fertiliser, feed and aggregate from Meldon Quarry.  DCC renovated Okehampton Station in the 1990's, followed by the introduction of the Sunday `Rover` services, also special excursion trains to various destinations including Stratford upon Avon.  There was also a Santa Express each Christmas from Okehampton to Sampford Courtney.

After much lobbying of MP's and much research and hard work by Michael and a team of volunteers, the Okehampton Line to Exeter will reopen in the Autumn of 2021, with 2 hourly services to Exeter (8 trains per day). In 2022 GWR will launch an hourly service. The aim is eventually to reinstate lines to Bude, Launceston, Wadebridge and Padstow.

The reopening of the Okehampton line will have an economic impact on the town, it is estimated £4.2 million p.a. based on reduced journey times and a line speed of 60 mph. It is thought the reopening of the line will increase house prices in the town which has positive and negative impacts. It is also recognised that there needs to be a push to have connecting bus services to the outlying villages and hamlets to enable people to access the services.


Part of the archive was opened up and a collection of photographs, documents, newspaper cuttings and memorabilia depicting life in Highampton over the past 50yrs+ was on display for members to look through.

Memories and anecdotes of the past were shared with the group by Charles, Mary and Alma, bringing to life some of the characters who had contributed to life in the village over the years.


Charles welcomed back Simon Dell to the group, who gave another informative and entertaining illustrated talk. The subject the Quaker Tapestry – a fascinating look at how the Quaker movement was founded and how Quaker groups can be found in many parts of the world. The tapestry took 11 years to complete and includes contributions from all Quaker groups, telling the story of how the movement was founded.

An interesting look at the creation and beliefs of this movement over the years.


Charles welcomed back Paul Rendall who entertained the group with numerous tales and stories of things that have happened to him during his time as a Dartmoor guide.

Considerable training has to be undertaken before becoming a guide – from map reading and first aid to knowing the flora and fauna that is found on the Moor; together with knowledge of the wildlife one can encounter on a Dartmoor walk. Also, one needs the ability to read the weather conditions and adjust the walk to those changing conditions and the abilities of the walking group. Accidents do happen and the Air Ambulance has been called out on numerous occasions to attend injured hikers.