Monday, August 30, 2010

Tyneham ghost village

Like Imber in Wiltshire, the village of Tyneham near the Jurassic coast in Dorset is a ghost village. Commandeered by the Ministry of Defence in December 1943 for training purposes, the 252 people of the village were told they could return after the war but the military changed their mind. It's been used for training purposes ever since, though it seems better preserved than Imber. Each house has a description and photos of people who used to live there, adding to the sense of loss and desolation.

The surrounding area is littered with military signs warning 'Military Firing Range Keep Out', and, like Salisbury Plain, this has meant the countryside has remained a wildlife haven, being free from development and farming. I guess they don't mind the rusty tanks and occasional heavy gunfire.

(A short walk from the village leads to the Jurassic coast where we searched in vain for decent fossils. There can't be that many left.)

Bill Douglas, one of my favourite unknown film-makers, shot part of his last film Comrades (1986) in Tyneham.

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