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  • hannahjolawton

Tyneham: The Jurassic Coast's Lost village

On one of our recent tours of East Dorset we got to show our guests the ghost village of Tyneham. A short drive (or a stunning walk) from Lulworth Cove is the village that has stopped in time. The land is thought to have been occupied since the Iron age and before 1943 was home to around 250 people. The village consisted of small cottages, farmsteads, a post office, a school, a church and impressive buildings such as the manor house and rectory. Many of the buildings are now in ruins, however the 15th century church and the school remain intact and have been restored as museums reminding us of a past time.

In 1943, during World War 2, the villagers were given 28 days to leave as te ground was to be used in preperation for critical military operations such as the D-Day landings. The villagers were told they would be able to return to their homes and simple way of life once the war was over. This was sadly not the case. In December 1943, after the final church service, the villagers pinned a message on the doors that read:

"Please treat the church and houses with care; we have given up our homes where many of us have lived for generations to help win the war to keep men free. We shall return one day and thank you for treating the village kindly"

In 1948 the military put a compulsory purchase order on the land and villagers were told they would not be allowed to return. It is still used for military training purposes to this day, sitting in the centre of the British Army's tank training ranges.

In 1967 most of the manor house that dates back to the 14th century was taken down by the Ministry of Works. Parts of the building have been moved and reconstructed at Athelhampton and Binghams Melcombe.

The Village is not always accessible but when firing is not taking place the village and the footpaths are open to the public (usually at the weekends and throughout August).

Please check the opening days here if you wish to visit.

We cant promise to include Tyneham on our tours due to the limited opening times but there will always be plenty to see and do. Why not check out our fully guided sightseeing day trips around the Jurassic Coast or enquire about a bespoke tour where we plan a day around you...


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