In November of 1943 the villagers of Tyneham were given an evacuation notice by Winston Churchill’s war cabinet. British forces had to be trained in modern combat in preparation for D-Day and, it was felt, Tyneham was the most suitable location with the fewest residents to inconvenience.
As live ammunition was to be used, villagers were ordered to leave their homes for their own safety. Residents were told that as of December 19, the village would be under the control of the military and they would need to stay away for a total of 28 days. On December 17 the townsfolk started to pack up and leave their homes behind—under the belief that it was only for a short period of time and they would soon be allowed to return.
The villagers were never allowed to return and, to this day, the village remains under the control of the military.
The cottages are in ruin, the manor house long gone. The church and the school are well preserved and inside the school you can still see the students’ names above the coat hooks, posters on the wall, and children’s work, all telling stories of a time long gone.
Today the village is nestled in a large military zone which is still used for training with live ammunition. As such the area is closed to the public for the majority of the year, but there are opportunities throughout the year to visit the ghost village.
Know Before You Go
Check open days before travelling to Tyneham.