I don’t remember how old I was the first time I saw Tyneham – mid teens or late teens, perhaps. We would have been staying in the area, and were on one of pater’s walks. I remember we were going to the coast, but “there’s an old deserted village on the way near here” said my father, so of course that had me interested, and off we went. The village had been commandeered by the army during the war for training allied troops – so all the villagers had to leave. And unfortunately they were never able to return. I recall it as being quite eerie, a long way off the beaten track, in it’s little valley. And I don’t recall seeing anyone else there. Now, it’s a tourist attraction, and that early mystery I felt is no longer there.
I do, however, remember being somewhat disappointed all those years ago because what was left wasn’t quite substantial enough for my liking….but it definitely mysterious. We were there in the late afternoon, and there was a palpable air of sadness.
These images shown here I took probably a decade after that first visit, and I have since returned a couple of times, but there is very little left of most buildings. Certainly that second building I have never seen again, and the rectory is now off limits.
The old manor house could have been worth a look back then, but we didn’t happen on it at the time, and maybe it would have been impossible to find. Admittedly, there is not much left as the army set about demolishing it in the late 1960s, and what remains is hidden away in woods and off-limits to the public.