Friends of Ashburton Station started as a Facebook group of like minded individuals with an interest in Ashburton Station. The Facebook group was set up in January 2014 as “A forum to celebrate the history of Ashburton Station and how to best ensure the preservation of what remains.”
The group became aware of Dartmoor National Parks’ Master Plan for the Ashburton Station Site in April 2014 and began discussing what could be done to ensure the preservation of, at least, the remaining station buildings.
The 13th November 2014 the Dartmoor National Park held a meeting in the Ashburton Town Hall. Quite a few individuals from the Friends of Ashburton Station attended the meeting to voice the views of the group and discuss with representatives of the National Park what exactly was planned and happening with their “Master Plan”.
The outcome of the meeting was that the National Park had not even considered the possibility of the railway being returned to Ashburton or even that perhaps a heritage center to recognise the historic value of the site.
At this meeting the individuals from the Friends of Ashburton Station also had a chance to speak with some residents of Ashburton and the feedback from them was that they would like to see the return of the railway to the town.
This gave encouragement to the members that it was worth pursuing the cause and was not just a few mad railway fans with an unobtainable dream. A meeting was then arranged at short notice to see what interest there was to form an official group.
The meeting was held on Friday 28th November 2014, 19 people attended the meeting including a good few members of the South Devon Railways Association, some residents of Ashburton who would like to see the site heritage recognised and were not happy with any of the other suggested uses for the site.