Okehampton (/ˌoʊkˈhæmp.tən/ also /ˈoʊ.kæmp.tən/) is a town and civil parish in West Devon in the English county of Devon. It is situated at the northern edge of Dartmoor, and had a population of 5,922 at the 2011 census. Two electoral wards are based in the town (east and west). Their joint population at the same census is 7,500.
Fore Street, Okehampton
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|• London||201 miles (323 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Police||Devon and Cornwall|
|Fire||Devon and Somerset|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|Website||Official Town Website|
Okehampton was founded by the Saxons. The earliest written record of the settlement is from 980 AD as Ocmundtune, meaning settlement by the Ockment, a river which runs through the town. It was recorded as a place for slaves to be freed at cross roads.
Like many towns in the West Country, Okehampton grew on the medieval wool trade. Notable buildings in the town include the 15th century chapel of St. James and Okehampton Castle, which was established by the Norman Sheriff of Devon, Baldwin FitzGilbert (d.1090).
Okehampton was the caput of a large feudal barony, which at the time of the Domesday Book was held by Baldwin FitzGilbert. After his death in 1090 the tenure of the barony is obscure for the next twenty years after which it was held by the heiress Maud d'Avranches until her death in 1173, which passed to her daughter, Hawise de Curci (died 1219), who married Reginald de Courtenay. His French possessions were confiscated by the French King Louis VII, but were given, together with the marriage of his daughter Elizabeth de Courtenay, to his youngest brother Peter I of Courtenay. The Courtenay family rebuilt Okehampton Castle, until King Henry VIII seized the lands and had Henry Courtenay, 1st Marquess of Exeter executed for treason in 1539. Presently, the castle is owned by English Heritage and is open to the public during the summer season. The town is also home to the Museum of Dartmoor Life, which has received notable visitors such as Prince Charles.
There is a substantial army training camp on Dartmoor which can be reached via Okehampton, and is commonly referred to as "Okehampton Camp". It is managed by the Defence Training Estate, and used by a variety of military units, including the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM), Lympstone, Devon, and many cadet training units. The Ten Tors event is run by the Army each year in early May from Okehampton Camp.
Schools in the town include Okehampton Primary School and Okehampton College. There are also a number of smaller primary schools in the surrounding areas for children within the catchment area of Okehampton that include South Tawton, Hatherleigh, Chagford, North Tawton and Bridestowe.
The town's football team, Okehampton Argyle F.C., is a non-league club which was established in 1926 after the original side, Okehampton Town, disbanded. The club competes in the South West Peninsula League which sits at Steps 6 and 7 of the National League System; four leagues below the top division of non-league football, the Football Conference. The town also has a rugby club, Okehampton RFC, which is believed to have been founded in 1884. There is also a table tennis club in the town that in was purpose-built for the sport.
Okehampton's location at the edge of the moor means that it has always been a route centre. After years of uncertainty, the A30 trunk road was finally re-routed in 1988 to bypass the town, which had previously acted as a holiday traffic bottleneck at summer weekends. Okehampton railway station is on the former northerly rail route from Exeter to Plymouth via Tavistock. The line from Exeter remains open for freight traffic to and from Meldon Quarry, two miles (3 km) west of Okehampton. In summer, and at weekends throughout the year, the Dartmoor Railway operates a heritage railway service between Okehampton and Meldon Quarry.
In 1997, Devon County Council revived a passenger rail service from Exeter, on summer weekends only, in an attempt to reduce motor traffic to the national park. In March 2010, the freight operator Devon & Cornwall Railways announced plans to reinstate a daily passenger service terminating in Exeter, but this has yet to happen.
In the wake of widespread disruption caused by damage to the mainline track at Dawlish by coastal storms in February 2014, leaving Plymouth and Cornwall with no rail connection to the rest of the country, Network Rail are considering reopening the Exeter-to-Plymouth route via Okehampton and Tavistock.
Okehampton is served by various bus services from Exeter, Bude, Newquay and Tavistock. Stagecoach service 6 links from Exeter Bus station via Exeter St Davids to Okehampton and then to Bude. Other services from Exeter Bus station include the 6A service via Exeter St Davids, which continues to Launceston.
Okehampton is surrounded by many smaller villages and towns including the hamlet of Stockley. Notable examples are the villages of South Zeal with its ancient burgage plots, granite thatched cottages and Dartmoor Folk Festival; Belstone, noted for its location on the very outskirts of Dartmoor and links to Agatha Christie's The Sittaford Mystery; and Sticklepath which has an annual fire show on Bonfire Night, 5 November. Other nearby villages and settlements include Folly Gate, Northlew, Jacobstowe, Bridestowe and Sourton.
The 2019 West Devon Borough Council election took place on 2 May 2019, to elect members of West Devon Borough Council in England. This was on the same day as other local elections across England.Bridestowe
Bridestowe () is a civil parish and village in the district of West Devon, Devon, England. The parish is surrounded clockwise from the north by the parishes of Bratton Clovelly, Sourton, Bridestowe and Sourton Common, Lydford, Lewtrenchard and Thrushelton. In 2001 the population of the parish was 552, compared with 457 in 1901. There is an electoral ward with the same name; its population at the 2011 census was 1610.The village is 6 miles south-west of Okehampton on the edge of Dartmoor and on the A30 main road. It has a primary school, pre-school, village stores and post office, a number of public houses and accommodation providers, Methodist chapel and village hall.
The parish church is mostly 13th and 15th century, with a west tower and some fragments of Norman work. It is dedicated to the Irish Saint Bride or Bridget, who is depicted in one of the stained glass windows, and from whom the place-name is derived.Also within the parish are an Elizabethan mansion Great Bidlake, the seat of the Bidlake family since 1268, and disused mine-workings which once produced lead and copper.
Bridestowe railway station was opened in 1874 and closed in 1968, together with the stretch of line from Okehampton station to Bere Alston.Dartmoor Railway
The Dartmoor Railway is a 15 1⁄2-mile (24.9 km) long railway line in Devon, England. From Crediton the line parallels the Tarka Line to the site of the former Coleford Junction. Heading west, it then serves Sampford Courtenay, Okehampton and Meldon Quarry. The section from Crediton to Coleford Junction is owned by Network Rail and from there to Meldon is owned by Aggregate Industries. In the past freight trains served the ballast quarry at Meldon. The line is leased to and maintained by the Dartmoor Railway CIC, who operate some services and facilitate access to the line by other operators.
Great Western Railway run a public service between Exeter and Okehampton on summer Sundays. Ballast and stone trains were formerly operated by one of the national freight operating companies. In 2011 the quarry was mothballed, leading to the suspension of ballast and stone trains. The line is also used occasionally by other operators for training purposes,and is visited from time to time by main line charter services via the connection to the national network at Crediton.
The route was originally part of the London and South Western Railway's West of England Main Line (route from Exeter to Plymouth), which opened between 1865 and 1879. In 1968, British Rail closed the line beyond Meldon as part of the Beeching cuts. The Exeter to Okehampton passenger service was withdrawn by British Rail in 1972.
Between 1972 and 1997 the line was used for railway ballast traffic from Meldon Quarry and occasional freight traffic to the remaining goods yard at Okehampton before its closure. Occasional charter and special trains were operated to Okehampton and Meldon Quarry during the passenger closure period. The railway reopened to regular passenger services in 1997 with the formation of Dartmoor Railway. A summer Sunday passenger service was introduced from Exeter to Okehampton as part of the Dartmoor Rover network.British American Railway Services Ltd, a company created by Iowa Pacific Holdings of Chicago, became the new owner of the Dartmoor Railway CIC on 4 September 2008. The company announced its intention to develop freight, passenger and tourist services on the railway.Volunteer support for the railway is provided by the Dartmoor Railway Supporters Association (DRSA). Volunteers assist the railway operation in many of its activities.A proposal was made in 2009 to restore and reopen the disused down platform at Yeoford and extend Dartmoor Railway services to terminate there. At the time it was not possible to agree arrangements with Network Rail, who own Yeoford Station and the section of line from near the site of the former Coleford Junction towards Yeoford and Crediton. If this proposal were eventually achieved it could allow the extension of Dartmoor Railway passenger services and make interchange with Exeter–Barnstaple "Tarka Line" trains possible.EX postcode area
The EX postcode area, also known as the Exeter postcode area, is a group of 33 postcode districts in England, which are subdivisions of 30 post towns. These postcode districts cover north and east Devon, including Exeter, Barnstaple, Axminster, Beaworthy, Bideford, Braunton, Budleigh Salterton, Chulmleigh, Colyton, Crediton, Cullompton, Dawlish, Exmouth, Holsworthy, Honiton, Ilfracombe, Lynmouth, Lynton, North Tawton, Okehampton, Ottery St Mary, Seaton, Sidmouth, Sidford, Sidbury, South Molton, Tiverton, Torrington, Umberleigh, Winkleigh and Woolacombe, plus the northernmost part of Cornwall, including Bude.East Okement River
East Okement is a river in the Dartmoor moors in Devon in south-west England. It joins the West Okement at Okehampton to form the Okement.Feudal barony of Okehampton
The feudal barony of Okehampton was a very large feudal barony, the largest mediaeval fiefdom in the county of Devon, England, whose caput was Okehampton Castle and manor. It was one of eight feudal baronies in Devonshire which existed during the mediaeval era.Halwill
Halwill is a village in Devon, England just off the A3079 Okehampton to Holsworthy road. About a mile away on the main road is another settlement called Halwill Junction.
This name brings to mind the former significance of the two villages, as home to an important railway junction, where the North Cornwall Railway (forming part of a main line railway from Exeter to Plymouth) diverged from the earlier Okehampton to Bude Line, see Halwill Junction railway station. Portions for the two routes separated and rejoined at Halwill station, giving the villages a much better service than larger habitations in the area.
There is a football pitch in Halwill as well as a newsagents, Fish and Chip shop and other shops. The local football team play on the football pitch.Inwardleigh
Inwardleigh is a village and civil parish about 3 and a half miles north north west of Okehampton railway station, in the West Devon district, in the county of Devon, England. The parish contains the village of Folly Gate. The A386 road runs through the parish. In 2011 the parish had a population of 491. The parish touches Hatherleigh, Sampford Courtenay, Okehampton Hamlets, Jacobstowe and Northlew.Monkokehampton
Monkokehampton is a village and civil parish on the River Okement, about 3 miles east north east of Hatherleigh railway station, in the West Devon district, in the county of Devon, England. In 2011 the parish had a population of 139. The parish touches Iddesleigh, Hatherleigh, Exbourne and Broadwoodkelly. Alternative names for Monkokehampton are "Monk Okehampton", "Okehampton" and "Okehampton Monk".Okehampton (UK Parliament constituency)
Okehampton was a parliamentary borough in Devon, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons in 1301 and 1313, then continuously from 1640 to 1832, when the borough was abolished by the Great Reform Act.Okehampton Castle
Okehampton Castle is a medieval motte and bailey castle in Devon, England. It was built between 1068 and 1086 by Baldwin FitzGilbert following a revolt in Devon against Norman rule, and formed the centre of the Honour of Okehampton, guarding a crossing point across the West Okement River. It continued in use as a fortification until the late 13th century, when its owners, the de Courtenays, became the Earls of Devon. With their new wealth, they redeveloped the castle as a luxurious hunting lodge, building a new deer park that stretched out south from the castle, and constructing fashionable lodgings that exploited the views across the landscape. The de Courtenays prospered and the castle was further expanded to accommodate their growing household.
The de Courtenays were heavily involved in the 15th century Wars of the Roses and Okehampton Castle was frequently confiscated. By the early 16th century the castle was still in good condition, but after Henry Courtenay was executed by Henry VIII the property was abandoned and left to decay, while the park was rented out by the Crown. Parts of the castle were reused as a bakery in the 17th century, but by the 19th century it was completely ruined and became popular with Picturesque painters, including J. M. W. Turner. Renovation work began properly in the 20th century, first under private ownership and then, more extensively, after the castle was acquired by the state. In the 21st century it is controlled by English Heritage and operated as a tourist attraction.Okehampton College
Okehampton College is a mixed secondary school and sixth form located in Okehampton in the English county of Devon.As a foundation school, Okehampton College is administered by Devon County Council, which coordinates the schools admissions. Pupils are normally admitted from Boasley Cross Community Primary School, Bridestowe Primary School, Chagford CE Primary School, Exbourne CE Primary School, Hatherleigh Community Primary School, Lew Trenchard CE Primary School, Lydford School, Northlew & Ashbury Parochial Primary School, North Tawton Community Primary School, Okehampton Primary School and South Tawton Primary School. The school also operates a federation with Holsworthy Community College in Holsworthy.Okehampton College offers GCSEs, BTECs and OCR Nationals as programmes of study for pupils, while students in the sixth form have the option to study from a range of A Levels, NVQs and further BTECs.Okehampton Hamlets
Okehampton Hamlets is a civil parish in the Borough of West Devon and the English county of Devon. It has a population of 400.Okehampton Parkway railway station
Okehampton Parkway is a proposed railway station in Okehampton. The station would be part of the Devon Metro and has been described as a priority station. The station is to be sited at the A30 junction at Stockley Hamlet and would be sited at the Business Park at Okehampton as well as serving a further 9,000 homes close to the site.Following the Government's announcement of the reopening of rail lines closed in the 1960s and 1970s the line through the site has been proposed for restoring the line to regular services. Devon County Council has purchased a site for a parkway station.In January 2018, it was revealed that Devon County Council were looking at options for a new parkway station and running regular services from it.In April 2018, two preferred options for a new station which included an option for a double-sided platform which included a through platform and a bay platform. Another is for a platform single-sided platform on the south side of the railway with staggered faces. Exeter-bound trains would use the north through platform and the Dartmoor Railway would use the bay platform.Okehampton railway station
Okehampton railway station is a railway station serving the town of Okehampton in Devon, England. Heritage train services currently operate on certain weekdays, weekends and bank holidays. A service from Exeter operates on summer Sundays as part of the Dartmoor Sunday Rover network.River Okement
The River Okement is a tributary of the River Torridge in Devon, England. It used to be known as the River Ock.It rises at two places in Dartmoor, as the West Okement and the East Okement. These meet with other minor streams and join together at Okehampton. The river flows generally north, past the villages of Jacobstowe and Monkokehampton, and has its confluence with the River Torridge near Meeth.Sampford Courtenay railway station
Sampford Courtenay railway station is a railway station at Belstone Corner serving the nearby (1.6 miles) village of Sampford Courtenay in Devon. The village lies 3 minutes away by car or around 30 minutes by foot via the B3215.Throwleigh
Throwleigh () is a village and civil parish located near the town of Okehampton and the A30 road, in the West Devon district, in the county of Devon, England. Throwleigh has a church called St Mary the Virgin, Throwleigh.West Devon
West Devon is a local government district and borough in Devon, England. Towns in the district include Chagford, Okehampton, Princetown, and Tavistock, where the council is based.
The district was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, as a merger of the previous municipal borough of Okehampton, Okehampton Rural District, and Tavistock Rural District. West Devon contains most of Dartmoor.
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Bold text denotes a parish council referred to as a "town council".