The history of the Parishes of Ashprington, Cornworthy and Dittisham and related themes from the wider county of Devonshire

Join us to explore the history of the West Dart area through talks, visits and research



This is the website of the West Dart History Group. It contains a growing library of local images collected principally under the names of the Parishes of Ashprington, Cornworthy and Dittisham sub-divided into appropriate topics for each parish. It also offers a catalogue of the Archive collection, a number of documents as PDFs, the texts of some of the evening presentations to the WDHG and details of past and forthcoming meetings.

The group meets in Ashprington Parish Hall. Doors open at 6:30pm and meetings start promptly at 7:00pm unless otherwise stated. Guests are welcome to attend one meeting, after which we kindly request that you pay the annual membership fee of £15 for attendance at subsequent meetings to help support the group.

Presentations available online can be opened or downloaded via the active links below

The Meeting Programme for 2024

January 10th3pm: Tour of Tuckenhay Mill followed by presentations on its historyPeter Wheeler et al
Our AGM will be held immediately after the Tour
March 6thThe South Devon Atmospheric Railway - Brunel's Folly?Graham Hawkins
May 1stThe Grand Manner. The Legacy of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Plymouth’s greatest painterJenny Pery, President of
The Devonshire Association
July 3rdHistory Group Summer OutingDartmoor Prison,
the Grimpen Mire and
the Hidden Moor
September 18thThe Evacuation of the South Hams 1943-44Gail Ham
Nov 6thThe Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549 and the Siege of ExeterJohn Hitchins

Past Meetings


January 4thHistoric Houses of the DartRosemary Yallop
March 15thThe Georgian Cloth Industry of Exeter and DevonDr Todd Gray FRHistS MBE
May 3rdCharles Babbage, Totnes's Computer Pioneer?Andy Greener
July 20thHistory Group Summer OutingPlymouth Citadel and
Nancy Astor's home
September 6thA Lifetime in PhotographyChris Chapman
Nov 15thJoyce Molineux and the Carved Angel, DartmouthTom Jaine


February 2ndAgatha Christie in Devon – In Fact and FictionGraham Hawkins
March 2ndHarold Bate - Devon's First Eco-warriorAndy Greener
May 4thEddystone - The Lighthouse they had to Build Three Times (text only)John Hitchins
July 5thHistory Group Summer OutingVisit to Burrator area
September 28thTikrit after the Second Gulf War (off-topic!)Graham Hawkins
(at short notice)
Nov 16thEarly Parliamentary Elections in DartmouthGail Ham


January 15thThe White Rajahs of SheepstorGraham Hawkins
March 4thThe U-Boat War off the South South Hams Coast 1915-18Roger Barrett


January 8thExercise Tiger - Disaster and DeceptionGraham Hawkins
March 5thOld photographs of the West DartSki Harrison
May 15thDevon Orchards: how Devon took to CiderMichael Gee
July 15thHistory Group Summer OutingKelly Mine and Lustleigh
September 4thArchives at the Devon Heritage CentreBrian Carpenter
Nov 20thThe Rebuilding of the Royal Clarence Hotel, ExeterTodd Gray


January 9thThe Hallsands Disaster - A Hundred Years OnGraham Hawkins
March 6thAn Explanation of Lime Kilns of Torbay, the Dart Estuary and
Further Afield
John Risdon
June 5thHistory Group Summer OutingGreenway Picnic to
remember Tom Appleton
July 3rdHistoric Gardens of South DevonDianne Long
September 4thMaritime Short-cuts - Canals of the West CountryColin Vosper
Nov 6thSalcombe SchoonersRoger Barrett


January 3rdDartmouth's StoryDavid Lingard
March 7thDartmouth MuseumDavid Lingard
May 2ndRail Routes West of ExeterAndy Roden
July 4thTraders of the NightSir Geoffrey Newman
September 5thThe History of English HeritagePaul Pattison
Nov 7thThe Three HaresTom Greeves


January 5thTaking the No38 Big Red Bus to KuwaitGraham Hawkins
March 1stThe transition from peacetime to wartime in Devon: 1914-1915Richard Batten
May 3rdEdwardian DevonDavid Parker
July 5thPrehistoric Dartmoor - New RevelationsTom Greeves
September 6thOldstone ManorPaul Pattison
Nov 1stThe Third Anthony Harrison Memorial Lecture - Pevsner's CornwallPeter Beacham


January 5thThe History of Tuckenhay MillPeter Wheeler
March 28thVisit to the Vitifer and Golden Dagger tin minesTom Greeves
May 5thThe land of junket and cream: traditional Devon Fare,
an historical perspective
Paul Cleave
July 7thThe Historic House of DevonCharles & Oliver Fish
September 1stBrunel’s Great Western Railway – the building of the line from
Paddington to Penzance with special reference to the Devon section
Brian Portch
Nov 10thThe Second Anthony Harrison Memorial Lecture - A Fun and
Successful Partnership
Peter Sutton


January 13thDartmouth – An Enchanted PlaceJoslin Fiennes
March 11thOn the Tracks of the Hound – The Origins of Conan Doyles’
novel ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’
Graham Hawkins
May 12thThe English Civil War – Totnes Town - Mayhem and Financial RuinJill Drysdale
July 1stThe History of the Gardens of the National Trust on the English RivieraMartin Farhall
September 2ndThe Last Days of Dartmoor Tin WorkingTom Greeves
Nov 4thThe First Anthony Harrison Memorial Lecture - DhowsPaul Riley