‘Lost village’ of Tyneham

AddressSouth West Coast Path, Wareham, Dorset BH20 5PF, UK
Location typeOther
Site Ownership and Access InformationThe area remains the property of the Ministry of Defence, but since 1975 the public have been permitted to visit on certain occasions. Some of the village buildings are in disrepair, but others have been preserved. The church (is occasionally used for services, and the school houses an exhibition about village history. Firing ranges nearby are in regular use. Visitors to the area (at times when public visits are permitted) must keep to marked footpaths.
Contact detailsFor the times when the village is open to the public - generally at weekends - see the website links to Discover Purbeck Information Centre or Dorset for You.

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In autumn 1943, the inhabitants of the ancient village of Tyneham were given just over a month’s notice that they would need to leave their homes because the village and the surrounding area (7,500 acres in total) was needed for the war effort. The area became a training ground for Allied troops, particularly for men who would land in Normandy on and after D-Day.

A letter sent to the more than 220 villagers who had to leave the area said that “The Government appreciate that this is no small sacrifice which you are asked to make, but they are sure that you will give this further help towards winning the war with a good heart.” As the villagers left, a note is said to have been pinned to the church door for reading by the troops who would soon be training there: “Thank you for treating the village kindly”. This situation was meant to only last for the duration of the Second World War, but in 1948 the land was compulsory purchased by the government, and it remains in use for military training to this day.

View on the D-Day On Your Doorstep map