The Abandoned Village of Tyneham

Tyneham (in Dorset, in the Purbeck area) has variously been referred to as a ‘lost’ or a ‘ghost’ village. The reality is that, in 1943, Winston Churchill’s war Cabinet issued notices of clearance to the village residents as the land was required for D-Day preparations by the military. Assurances were apparently given that the properties would be returned to their rightful owners after the war. This never happened, and over the last 70 years, the village buildings have gradually become more and more ruined, or been demolished (in the case of the manor house, Tyneham House).

I first visited Tyneham in the late 1970s/early 1980s, I think (and if so, without a camera). The next time was in 1991, and for some reason we didn’t see much of the place beyond the cottages in Post Office row, and the overgrown Rectory from a distance (image below).

I never, to my knowledge, saw Tyneham House, which is sad as it has now been demolished. Most of the buildings are now in an advanced state of decay, with the upper storeys having been removed long since because of their dangerous state.

The Rectory now has huge signs warning you that the building is out of bounds as it is unsafe. It seems that I should have visited in the last 20 years, and I could have seen more of this unique place…..I do find more and more frequently that I am too late to see places…

Anyway, here are some images:

the interesting thing about this area is that the Military, initially vilified for their occupation, are active partners in the preservation and protection of this land and its wildlife.


  1. Pat

    These are really wonderful pictures. It makes me want to be there so I can see more. I can understand your wish that you would have taken more interest earlier. It would have been fun to record it’s decay.

    • Many thanks for your comment, Pat. I was really lucky the day I took the recent images because the sun was out, picking out detail, creating some pools of light and shadow, and above all atmosphere! On a dull day it wouldn’t have been the same at all!

  2. Love the pictures and the great use of sun and shadow!

    • Thanks Julie. I was very lucky with the weather on the day I visited, it just wouldn’t have been the same without the sun.

  3. Wonderful photographs of a haunting place. Thanks for sharing. Regards, Paul ps if you’re interested, if recently written a ghost story based in Tyneham –

  4. Steph Gassor

    Hi Sue, lovely photos of an amazing place. I’ve visited many times since the early 90s and was fortunate enough to be able to walk round the rectory one year before they fenced it all off. Like you I would love to have seen Tyneham House, the ruins of which are visible on Google Earth. Thank you for your photos.

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