About the Parish
The Parish of Okehampton Hamlets is a rural parish situated in beautiful countryside in West Devon. It is made up of the hamlets of Brightley, Southcott, Meldon and Stockley. The parish occupies 15.48 square miles and has a population of over 500.
The hamlet of Southcott is predominantly agricultural with a number of small agricultural enterprises having merged into one larger agricultural unit to secure a sound base for an industry which has experienced significant problems in recent years.
The hamlet of Brightley lies to the north of Okehampton. The River Okement runs through the hamlet dividing Abbeyford Woods from flat farmland. Farming and forestry are the main commercial activity along with Brookite. The leat which once powered Brightley Mill (now a kite factory) can still be seen and just inside the hamlet at Brightley Farm stands a wall, dating back to the 12th Century, on the site of an ancient Abbey, hence the name Abbeyford Woods.
The hamlet of Meldon is rich in industrial archaeological remains. There are stunning views from Meldon Dam across the ravine towards Meldon Viaduct which is now part of the National Cycle Route and a network of paths around Meldon Quarries, now a geological Site of Special Scientific Interest, and through the ancient woodlands at Meldon Woods which, in May, are carpeted with bluebells.
Meldon Woods belongs to Okehampton Hamlets Parish Council and the Council is working with the Dartmoor National Park Authority to reintroduce traditional coppicing techniques to increase biodiversity and as a result the woodland now supports a variety of wildlife including roe deer, foxes, wrens and tree creepers.