Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A village lost but not forgotten.

Imagine ......


It is November and as your thoughts turn towards Christmas the postman delivers a letter informing you that you must leave your home and your village. This is what happened to 200 people living in a village called Tyneham in Dorset in 1943.  The villagers never realised as they left their homes that winter that they would never live in them again.



The land was taken over by the Army for wartime training but in 1948 they decided they would  keep the land and use it for a firing range and training ground. It was bought under a compulsory purchase order and the villagers had no say in what happened. A campaign lasting 30 years tried to reverse the decision and the Army eventually agreed to give the public access to this area when Army training was not taking place.





The church and school house and farm buildings have been restored but the other buildings stand as empty shells with just a few features left to remind one that they were once homes.


The school house


Below is the old  rectory it used to look magnificent but now it just an empty shell and the walls by the entrance are all covered in bullet holes. 






The telephone box was installed in the early part of 1943 and oddly it remains the only thing that was undamaged during the preceding years.


Thanks to volunteers, every time we visit more restoration has taken place. Over the past few years they have restored the mill bridge and created a wild flower meadow and garden. They were creating dry stone walls when we visited.



The one advantage is that this valley is now a haven for wildlife. The trees that have grown in the valley can not be cut down because they are full of shrapnel. If you visit early or late in the day it is such a peaceful place to be.

A 15 minute walk takes you down to the sea where wonderful views await you. Well some of us admired the view! Daisy was too interested in a family walking on the coast path!



This land was also taken over by the Army.







In my youth my parents were friendly with one of the villagers who had to leave. I wish I had asked her about her life in this special place.


 Sarah x

26 comments:

  1. Hello Sarah:
    We have, of course, known of the wartime and subsequent fate of Tyneham but have never visited and never previously seen any pictures other than perhaps an odd one. This post not only satisfies our curiosity but is hugely interesting too, not least to learn of the way in which certain areas of the village have been restored and cared for.

    How dreadful it must have been for the villagers at the time and then, as the years passed by, to see their hopes of returning diminishing.

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  2. This is a sad and poignant story. Thank you for sharing it. If I ever get to England I will visit Tyneham.

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  3. Thank you for the history and photos too. What a beautiful place and so lushes and green. A sweet photo of Daisy. Have a wonderful day.

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  4. I remember watching this on tv, fascinating and very traumatic for those who once lived there, wonderful to see nature reclaiming the land
    Thea x

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  5. Dear Sarah,
    oh what a shame it is to this lovely old village. Thank you that you remember at this wonderful place and I thank you for your wonderful stories!!!!
    Great pictures Sarah!!!!
    Sincerely Flori

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  6. Dear Sarah - we always feel so safe and secure in our homes that I cannot imagine anyone compulsorily taking it away, but obviously it can happen as it did to the people of Tyneham.
    I expect there are very few people around now who remember it as it was, but it is good that teams of helpers are restoring the drystone walls, and creating wildflower meadows for the visitors and the wildlife.
    Daisy looks delightful.

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  7. How awful for the villagers but lovely to see it being restored now. It sounds like a very interesting place to visit, I must make a mental note of it and hope to go there one day!

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  8. Hi Sarah,

    What a very interesting story and must have been so awful for the folk having to move out of the town. Thanks for sharing and it looks like Tyneham should have been a lovely town and so near to the sea.
    I remember watching an episode of Top Gear and the guys were driving around a town and looks like it could have been the place.

    Have a lovely week
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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  9. How sad for the families having to leave such a beautiful spot. At least the wildlife is thriving. xx

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  10. I had heard of Tyneham...it is a sad tale. Granny lived in Torcross as a girl and they too were asked to vacate the village in order for a top secret rehearsal for the D-Day landings. This lead to a terrible tragedy, a US sub was hit by a live missile and the losses were enormous. This was all hushed up so as not to damage morale. My family never settled again in Torcross and now we take Granny back there several times a year and she tells us tall tales and funny customs...Brilliant to remember, thank you for remembering Tyneham to us all,

    Sarah -x-

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    1. A friend of ours was also a boy in Torcross during the war and remembers having to leave the village. Unlike Tyneham families were able to return there after the war, which Ted did although he doesn't live there now. We know Torcross well as we have rented a holiday cottage there, another lovely place with a history.
      Sarah x

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  11. Hi Sarah, What a sad story . . . those of us that have never experience war first hand really can not fully imagine the devastation that one would go through in these circumstances. It is interesting to hear this history, but it also leaves a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.
    In reply to the comment you left on my blog:
    I agree we get polluted with bad news, but not here in our blogging network. I know that there are blogs that discuss the world news and politics, but I prefer to to celebrate the good things in life. I believe that connecting with like minded people, people with positive attitudes, is a very healthy way of life. I receive much positive energy from my blogging sisters . . . Bravo, too strong kindhearted women all over the world. Good cheer, Connie :)

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  12. What a fascinating post Sarah. My first reaction was almost disbelief that this could happen this way in Britain! Then, of course, it was wartime. As Rosemary says 'we always feel so safe and secure in our homes'. To play devil's advocate and look at the bigger picture - is it possible that their sacrifice helped win the war?
    Huge question. Big issue. I think the war generation had to do things we can hardly imagine. It would be nice to think that the restoration of Tyneham would act as a tribute to the sacrifice they and so many others had to make.

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  13. a fascinating but sad story. it is nice so much restoration work is being done though. xxx

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  14. I love your pictures so much. It is such a beautiful place.
    Lovely hugs
    Molly

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  15. What a sad story, I wonder if there's still anyone alive who lived there and who remembers it as it was before. It's very difficult to imagine what it must've felt like for those people to be told they had to leave their homes.

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  16. Dear Sarah,
    like so many of your commenters above I echo their sentiment at this sad story. I had heard of the village and its fate but not seen as many photos as these. Wonderful. Love the photo of your dog too - ours are just the same far more interested in other people than to listen to any of us, unless there's a dog treat involved!
    June

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  17. Fascinating post. I read a book about Tyneham a while back, such a sad story for the villagers.

    Love that pic of Daisy, so fixed on what has caught her attention :D

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  18. Wow Sarah that is so interesting, it's such a fascinating place and good to hear that parts are being gradually restored.

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  19. Hi Sarah we visited this lovely place when we used to holiday here. Its a lovely place, if you close your eyes you can be taken back to that lively village, the school room is my favourite. Is Daisy at Kimmeridge, my daughter had a question in her geology exam about the oil at Kimmeridge. Julie xxx

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    1. No the picture of Daisy is at Worbarrow bay the next bay going towards Swanage is Kimmeridge. Have you been there? It's amazing having an oil field so close to the sea!
      Sarah x

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  20. I didn't know this story - how sad. But it must be fascinating to visit. Juliex

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  21. That is such a shame - it really annoys me when I read about things like this, but then the greater power and all that.

    I'm so glad it's getting restored bit by bit - thanks for sharing.

    Nina x

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  22. Hi Sarah, I read, then reread this post...
    How poignant and sad this real story is.
    Thanks for sharing this and I am glad parts are being gradually restored again.
    love Maria x
    Love the picture of Daisy!

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  23. Hi- I am your newest follower. Your pictures and stories make it so real for me. Thank you for sharing this story and showing how it looks now. I am off to read more of your blog. If you have minute, stop over to mine and meet the Donkeys.

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  24. I've heard about this village. So sad. But then it is inspiring to know of volunteers trying to restore it so that it stays a reminder and beautiful place to visit.

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