Tyneham Village

Tyneham Village

Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, Tyneham Village is a poignant relic of a bygone era. Stepping into Tyneham is like stepping back in time; its charming stone cottages, weathered by the passage of years, offer a haunting yet evocative glimpse into the lives of the villagers who were forced to abandon their homes during World War II.

The village sits frozen in time, surrounded by idyllic countryside, showcasing the enduring spirit of a once-thriving community while serving as a living testament to the sacrifices made in the name of national defence.

Where is Tyneham?

Tyneham Village is located in the county of Dorset, England. It is situated within the Isle of Purbeck, a picturesque region known for its stunning landscapes and historic sites. The village is nestled in a valley near the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its geological significance and natural beauty. Tyneham’s coordinates are approximately 50.628°N latitude and 2.162°W longitude. Follow this link for directions to Tyneham.

Dorset’s Forgotten Village – A Brief History

Located within the serene landscapes of Dorset, Tyneham Village stands as one of the region’s most intriguing and evocative tourist destinations. With a rich history that spans generations, the village’s story is both a testament to its past vitality and a sombre reminder of the passage of time.

Once a vibrant and bustling community, Tyneham was a hub of activity before the ravages of war altered its fate. The village, now standing deserted for over seven decades, was witness to a bygone era of simplicity and rural charm.

The evacuation was a pivotal moment in Tyneham village history. Prior to the evacuation during World War II, Tyneham thrived as an idyllic countryside village. Positioned merely a stone’s throw away from the tranquil Worbarrow Bay, the village enjoyed the close proximity to the sea and the scenic allure of the surrounding landscape such as Flower’s Barrow and Worbarrow Tout.

Key Buildings Within The Village

The village boasted its own array of essential institutions, including a quaint church, a functional school, a peaceful rectory, numerous farms, and a collection of charming cottages.

Dominating the village’s architectural landscape was the imposing Tyneham House, also referred to as the Great House, an emblem of elegance and stature.

North East View of Tyneham House 1943

Tyneham Village Life

Life within Tyneham was characterized by a simple and idyllic existence. In an era where modern conveniences were scarce, the absence of electricity and running water did little to diminish the village’s allure. The villagers found contentment in the unhurried rhythm of life, shielded from the complexities and challenges of the outside world.

Today, as visitors explore the deserted streets and preserved remnants of Tyneham Village, they are transported back in time to an era of tranquillity and a close-knit community. The village’s poignant history serves as a poignant reminder of the impermanence of even the most cherished way of life.

Tyneham Village stands as a testament to the power of history to shape landscapes and a tribute to the enduring spirit of those who once called it home.

Early Photo of Tyneham Village with Horse and Cart

The Tyneham Village DVD

The most detailed account of life in Tyneham is from the Tyneham Remembered DVD. It contains many interviews with the people who lived in the village. It’s definitely recommended for anyone with an interest in Tyneham village and its history.

The Tyneham Remembered DVD can be purchased directly from this website or from Amazon.

Tyneham DVD

Why Did Tyneham’s Inhabitants Leave?

The story behind the evacuation of Tyneham Village is a poignant chapter in British history. In 1943, during the height of World War II, the British military requisitioned the village and the surrounding area for training purposes.

Due to its proximity to the Lulworth firing ranges, the government decided to claim Tyneham village and much of its surrounding land as a place to train the Allied forces.

The villagers were told they must temporarily leave their homes for the greater good.

This decision was made as part of the preparation for critical military operations, including the D-Day landings.

The residents of Tyneham were faced with a difficult and heart-wrenching choice. The military needed their homes and lands to create a realistic training environment for troops preparing for the challenges of warfare.

As a result, the villagers were given a mere 28 days’ notice to evacuate their homes, leaving behind the lives they had built over generations.

The promise was that they would be able to return once the war was over. However, the war extended beyond its initial projections, and the village and its surroundings became an essential training ground for various military exercises. As a consequence, the return of the villagers never materialized.

In December 1943, the last church service was held in the village’s St. Mary’s Church, and the villagers left their homes, believing they would be back soon.

They didn’t know it at the time, but once the war was over, they would never be allowed to return to their homes. As they packed up their belongings and left, they pinned a note to the door of the village church which read:

note left by villagers on Tyneham church door
The Note Left on The Church Door

Did The Villagers Ever Return?

Until now, despite a number of high-profile campaigns, the original residents have never been allowed to return to their homes.

The reality, however, was that Tyneham became trapped in time, frozen in its wartime state. The houses, school, church, and other buildings were preserved, but the villagers were never able to reclaim their community.

Today, Tyneham Village stands as a living memorial to its former residents and a reminder of the sacrifices made during times of conflict.

The decision to leave was borne out of the necessity of supporting the war effort, but it left behind a void that can still be felt among those who visit the village and learn about its history.

Sadly, nearly early all the evacuees have now passed away. Their last thoughts and memories were captured on the Tyneham Remembered DVD. Because of this, it remains unlikely that the government will release the village.

The village of Tyneham has remained as if frozen in time for the last 80 years.

When Tyneham village is open, it’s a lovely place to visit and provides a glimpse into the past of how life used to be in this quaint little village. Please check the opening dates before visiting.

Tyneham Post Office


Is Tyneham Village Open Today?

Tyneham Village is open to the public through much of the summer and most weekends. Check the Opening Times page for the most current information.

Are Tyneham Ranges Open Today?

Access to Tyneham Ranges may vary, as they are still used for military training. Before planning a visit, it’s recommended to check the official website or local authorities for the most up-to-date information on accessibility.

How Much Does it Cost to Visit Tyneham?

Entry to Tyneham Village is free of charge. Visitors can explore the village and its surroundings without any admission fees. (There is a donation box at the car park if you would like to leave a charitable donation). This provides an opportunity for people to experience the historical significance and natural beauty of Tyneham without any financial barrier.

Is There Parking at Tyneham Village?

Yes, there is parking available at Tyneham Village for visitors. Adequate parking facilities are provided to accommodate those exploring the village and its surroundings.

Are There Toilets at Tyneham Village?

Yes, there are toilet facilities available for visitors at Tyneham Village. These amenities ensure a convenient and comfortable experience during your visit.

Are Dogs Allowed?

Yes, dogs are welcome at Tyneham Village. However, they should be kept on a leash and under control to respect the area’s natural environment and the comfort of other visitors.

Is There Anything Else to See Near Tyneham Village?

A walk down to Worbarrow Bay is highly recommended. From there you can climb up Worbarrow Tout or walk up to Flower’s Barrow.

Is Tyneham Village National Trust?

No, Tyneham Village is not owned or managed by the National Trust. It is owned by the Ministry of Defence and is operated as a heritage site for public visitation.

Where Is Tyneham House?

Tyneham House, unfortunately, no longer exists. It was the manor house of Tyneham Village but was requisitioned by the military during World War II and later demolished. The village’s other buildings and ruins still offer insight into its history. Click here to learn more about Tyneham House.

26 thoughts on “Tyneham Village”

  1. I recently saw an episode of country tracks which was aired on BBC 1 on 22/08/2010 which was episode 47. It was a piece about tyneham village and featured Doug Churchill talking about having to leave his old house during the war. When the piece started on the programme presented by Jodie Kidd there was a piece of very enchanting music that was so beautiful that I can’t get it out of my head and I can’t find any information of what the music was. Can anyone help me to try and track it down. Thanks

  2. A wondrous site and a piece of history the majority of the world forgot. Walking around the remains of the village, we felt the sadness that still prevails and the isolation of the place prior to its forced eviction.

  3. As a child I lived in Sandford near Wareham and there is a road called Tyneham cl where some of the people evacuated from Tyneham lived. I remember a man called John Gould who fought for the families of Tyneham and the return of their village which sadly has not happened. I love Tyneham it is my favourite place in my beloved Dorset. It is preserved trapped in time where life was lived at a slower pace and people were close knit. If you have not visited yet then you should you will be charmed by this sad but beautiful village.

  4. I visited there to find my surname on one of the houses . Would love to know if they were related to me . I found the village fascinating . But it was a wet and muddy day . So we are going back this year on a better day .

  5. My mother now Nancy Banister (Coupe) was born in 1921
    She remembers it fondly . Her father was rector at Tyneham
    I know she would love to move back.

  6. My Grandmother attended the school at Tyenham, her work is visible in one of the writing desks and her name is on the pegs as you enter the building.

    My family has a huge amount of history and were some of the residents that were displaced but returned.

    Sadly my Grandmother isn’t alive any more but my cousins still live in the area near Grange Road and farm the area and maintain all of the arable land which is used by the military and the mining.
    The mining company have destroyed some of the farm houses on the land, where my grand parents and parents grew up and they wanted to evict my cousins – they were part of the BBC program COAST.

    If anyone is interested in our family history here then please get in touch.

    FYI my grand mother is Violet Burt and her desk is the one with the butter fly drawing.

  7. My mother Nancy Coupe was born at Tyneham rectory in 1921 , her father was the rector .
    She remembers well many events that happened at Tyneham. She will be 95 on the 16th April 2016 and still going strong. We hope to visit Tyneham with mother this summer.

  8. I love this little village. I walk this area quite often, and it still makes me angry, that the Army still need, the village for army maneuvers?

  9. Visited Tyneham in late 1960s. Beautiful place. Have just read novel by Natasha Solomons – The Novel of the Viola which has brought it all back. Have watched the MOD saga over the years and am disgusted with their stance. Studying geology at the time, I visited Kimmeridge and the fossilised forest (with permit from MOD).
    Ever hopeful the MOD will relent. Plenty of empty bases in Scotland where locals would welcome income!
    Maybe Sturgeon could help?
    Good luck.
    Audrey Galpin

  10. Some of my relatives lived in the village and Great Uncle Bob is listed in the register in the church, Shepherd Welland. His wife Alice was employed at the Big House.
    At the evacuation he moved to a tiny cottage dug into the side of a hill very near the village of Corfe close to where his daughter lived and as far as I know descendants live to this day.
    When the village was first opened to the public at bank holidays, it was vital that you kept to the marked paths as it was not unusual for a wandering cow or sheep to get killed by a shell buried since the war.
    My father would take us there to visit the church especially, and to wander round the village where he would tell us who lived where and tales about the villagers.
    September 2017

  11. Go and visit this wonderful place.Close your eyes and imagine the past.They gave up their home so we could have our lives.

  12. Be warned if you go to this place it will be with you forevermore
    a truly incredible experience an absolute must visit.

  13. We visited this fascinating hidden place at the weekend for the first time – many thanks to everyone who helps keep it a place for people to come and look at and learn about.

    Our visit was marred by a group of people who thought it was ok to climb on the buildings and make a lot of noise in doing so – the parents weren’t keeping the children under control but were themselves climbing on the old walls!

    Thankfully the outstanding views as one drives to and from the village made up for that and we loved the opportunity to go to Tyneham.

  14. I am Jason Edmunds / Warr is my mums maiden name and we are a Tynham family. I went to Tynham for the first time in my life in 2017 and had no idea of our history. I am a New Zealander and live in Waiheke Island and would love to know where our family went to ? My mum now lives in Swanage Dorset England with her sister and there’s Warr’s in Australia so it would be great if anyone has any information,…..

  15. My dad used to live here when he was a boy . He used to work on the farm and do look out on the hill .he is a Taylor . I love going to Tnyeham its a lovely place

  16. My dad used to live at Tyneham when he as a boy he worked on the farm and used to do lookout on the hill by the beach .The Taylor family

  17. Hi Tim… I recently came across this episode on an old DVD and I am too captivated by the music on the episode on Tyneham Village on country tracks episode 47 dated 22/08/2010 …. Has anyone be able to identify the music on this clip.. Thanks

  18. I have recently visited the beautiful village of Tyneham ( summer2020). Because of COVID restrictions we were not able to go inside the church, the schoolhouse or any of the farm buildings. Even with these restrictions the essence of this quaint little village could not stop itself finding its way into my heart. It will stay there forever.
    We will go back to Tyneham once this pandemic has passed so we can walk into the church, school and outbuildings.
    Why can’t the army give this beautiful village back the peace and tranquility it enjoyed before they arrived. It makes me weep to think of the poor residents that were given promises to return but promises, that were never honoured.
    It’s an absolute disgrace. The sadness in that village will live with me forever.

  19. Very much enjoyed our visit today, the people who had to leave their homes made a great sacrifice. I’d love to know what the tall spike flowers growing outside the bull house are called, I don’t recall ever seeing flowers like them elsewhere

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