The people of this village were asked to give up their homes and it is called or known as the neighboring Tyneham in 1943. All the villagers thought they would return – but they were never allowed to return.
The result is that anyone who suddenly finds themselves on this enormous stretch of beach might think they are somewhere other than in the south of England. The Jurassic coast is sparse and pristine, just as it was centuries ago and unlike any other stretch of the English coast.
During the closing years of World War II, the army ordered the residents out – and gave them 28 days – taking control of the village and its 7,500 hectares of surrounding area, to train troops and maneuver. It was considered a necessary part of the war effort.
A note attached to the church door in the 13th century told visitors or passersby, “Please treat the church and the homes with care; we have given up our homes where many of us live for generations to help win the war to keep the men free. We will return one day and thank you for treating the village so kindly.” .
The military placed a compulsory purchase order on the land in 1947 which meant that no one could return, despite several attempts by local residents to convince the military otherwise.
Since then, the land and the coast are in the hands of the Ministry of Defense and are used for training.
Since 1975, only soldiers at Gunnery School have been allowed to walk the village road Monday through Friday.
On weekdays there is a metal barrier that warns people of shooting drills nearby and that no one should enter.
From Saturday morning to Sunday evening, visitors can go back in time, through forgotten lanes lined with thousands of blackberries that, in season, are full of cranberries.
After driving to the car park and leaving the required £2 (US$2.2) in the trust, visitors can tour the ruins of old homes, including the foundations of a 14th-century manor house, which have been looted, demolished and set on fire.
Over the years – parts of it are now screwed on for safety.
Old Tyneham School, built in 1856, has been preserved, as is St Mary’s Church, which the military agreed to leave standing – and visitors can explore the huts detailing the families who lived in the village at the time.
In other villages there may have been tourist shops and tea rooms, crowded open buses and bars selling cream tea.
Instead, there is crowded vegetation and peace and quiet.