Nestled on the Jurassic Coast, at the end of a long, winding road, lies a little abandoned village, locked in a suspended state, forever frozen in the England of 1943.
In November 1943, notice was given to the inhabitants of the small coastal village of Tyneham, to leave their homes within 28 days for the purposes of military training.
The villagers packed their belongings and left their homes and lives in Tyneham behind. All left with the intention of returning once the war was over. The villagers even left a note on the church door, asking the military forces to treat their homes and community spaces with respect, as they will be returning to use them again someday.
Sadly, this was never the case. The military decided that the location was too useful for training purposes, and the villagers never had the opportunity to return. Today, whilst Tyneham Village is maintained as a ghost town in the state it was left, the surrounding areas are still used for military training.
Tyneham Village is open to the public throughout the year from 10am to 4pm, and whilst there is no entry or parking cost, visitors are encouraged to leave a donation to help with the maintenance costs.
The school and the church are the only buildings still standing intact, and the local maintenance team still write on the school blackboard everyday.
The childrens’ work that was left discarded on the tables is displayed for visitors to view, and the books and other teaching tools are still preserved in the classroom.
Walking around the school hall, you really do get a sense of what village life was like here in the early 1900s, and there is something quite eerie about the way you get a sense of the personalities in the drawings and poetry, frozen forever in time.
Many parts of the village are covered in a layer of garlic plants, giving the impression that nature is trying to reclaim the land. It also provides a pretty intense and lingering scent throughout the pathways winding throughout the buildings.
You’ll notice as you step in and out of the various shells of buildings, that everywhere little pieces of nature are fighting to take back over. Grass has found its way into the cracks in the foundations, and wall-creepers have made their homes in the spaces between the stone and brick.
The team who maintain the village have even put up a sign, asking easily-tempted visitors not to pick the wildflowers, in order to allow the natural reclamation of parts of the land.
If you want to see more, have a little look at our vlog below from our day exploring Dorset, with both Tyneham Village and Corfe Castle.