We have visited Tyneham Village near Lulworth in Dorset a couple of time but I’m aware that not many people have heard of it.
It has a really interesting story, so if you’re in the area (or even if you’re local) and are looking for things to do in Dorset, it’s definitely somewhere to add to your must-visit list.
Take a look at our photos and find out a bit more about the history of Tyneham Village…
This little village in the Dorset countryside was evacuated in 1943 during WWII so that the MOD could use the village for the army. The inhabitants were told they would be able to return when the war was over, but the MOD kept hold of the land and the village has been deserted ever since so that it can be used for army training. There were a few campaigns by the villagers but unfortunately, they were unsuccessful.
Tyneham Village is on the MOD ranges in East Lulworth, on the Jurassic Coast, about 20 miles from Bournemouth. Parking is free (although a donation is requested) and there’s no entry charge to the village.
Most of the houses are in ruins, some just left alone to fall apart and others damaged by shelling during the war, but a couple of the buildings have been preserved and now house exhibitions. At the start of the village is an original red telephone box with information about what happened in 1943 and why the village is abandoned.
It is a great place to explore, full of history and kids love to run in and out of the buildings and the woods. The village is like a ghost town and has a very eerie feel to it.
Each house has a plaque on the wall with information about the family that lived there, right down to the names and ages of the children. There’s also info and photos of what happened to the family after the war, and where they ended up living.
Reading about the families who lived in the now abandoned houses really makes you think about what it must have been like to be forced to leave your home. It’s also eye-opening to see just how small some of the cottages were for such large families.
Both times we’ve visited the village, we have spent ages in the school as Little H has been fascinated by it all. She loves to sit and look through the books and read the handwriting of the children. It’s funny to see some of the things they had to write about in the 1940s!
The school has been kept as it would have been in 1943, with writing on the blackboard and names on pegs, as well as the school books on the tables and old books on the shelves.
The church is also still intact with lots more information about the village of the history, and a message on the door that reads “Please treat the church and houses with care; we have given up our homes where many of us 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.” – definitely gives you goosebumps! There are also some amazing views from the churchyard.
Tyneham Village is open from 10am – 4pm, but check before you visit as it is only accessible when the Lulworth Ranges are open to the public. The area is owned by the MOD and is regularly used by tanks and armoured vehicles on army training exercises. The village is open most weekends and you can find a full list of dates here.
If you do find yourself in the Purbeck Hills or near Wareham, we would definitely recommend a visit to Tyneham Village if its open. It’s a side of WWII that you probably won’t hear anywhere else.
Have you visited Tyneham Village? If you have, let me know what you thought!