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News From February 2020

Higher Shilstone Talk

Higher Shilstone Talk

Higher Shilstone - Memories of a Medieval Farmstead on Dartmoor

Posted in Events on Tuesday 25th February 2020 at 11:11pm

On the afternoon of Saturday 15th February, 55 attendees struggled through some very difficult weather conditions created by storm “Dennis” to Manaton Parish Hall to hear Chris Chapman’s excellent talk on “Higher Shilstone”, which was a film screening on the potential selling of this architecturally important Medieval Farmstead.

With the film itself, Chris does a superb job of engaging the audience from the very start, where in 1974 its newly found owner Rita Webber, who had been living in Throwleigh, suddenly finds herself the owner of Shilstone Farm after her parents have died.

Chris, who was living locally himself at the time, recalls seeing Rita moving all her belongings on a day in August using a tractor and trailer from her Council house in the village up to the Farm.

Due to her financial situation, Rita is forced to sell the Farm, and the story develops from there. This is a truly fascinating film and Chris handles the story with great sensitivity.

After the film, we all tucked into delicious light refreshments provided by the Executive Committee and then Chris presented some of his extensive Throwleigh archive of old photographs and gave us an illustrated talk showing many images of rare and landmark situations, and occasions, and of the local people who lived in the Throwleigh area in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Despite the travel conditions everyone agreed that it had been a wonderful afternoon where we all felt that we had been totally transported back in time and had been given a rare insight into traditional Dartmoor life.

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Proposed Bid for "Beeching Reversal Fund" - Comments Needed by Friday 28th February

Posted in Responses/Comments on Tuesday 25th February 2020 at 11:01pm

Dartmoor Society member Tony Hill writes:

“Just in case you haven’t already seen, the Government has given more details of the process for bidding for the £500 million “Beeching Reversal Fund” which is intended to fund studies to investigate which lines it is worth reopening.

The process is to be initiated by MPs and the deadlines are pretty tight. The first call is for expressions of interest for the “Ideas Fund” by Friday 28th February, with at least one more round to follow.

Devon County Council has already announced that they are to bid for money to help finish the plans to reopen Bere Alston to Tavistock. That’s a different part of the fund – the “Accelerating Existing Proposals” bit.

A group has been set up by rail journalist Andy Roden with the aim of putting the whole Northern Route forward for consideration – Bere Alston to Meldon Quarry inclusive.

Geoffrey Cox is the key to getting a bid in. He has to at least submit the expression of interest.

Dartmoor Society members living in the area within the reinstated through route (closed on 6/5/1968) would serve, particularly those in West Devon who are interested in this project, are invited to email Geoffrey Cox about the fund and propose that he will make sure that not just Bere Alston to Tavistock but the whole Northern Route is fully considered.”

Geoffrey Cox’s email address is:

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