Highampton Local History Group


2021: July to December

July


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

 

August

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.