stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The lost village

There is a lovely village, hidden away in a green valley near the sea, called Tyneham. It lies deep in the Purbeck hills (or the Isle of Purbeck thought it isnt an island at all) surrounded by the lovely Dorset coastline - now called the Jurassic Coast and protected.

One day in 1943 the inhabitants were given orders by the government to pack up their belongings and leave. It was the middle of World War II and the army needed the houses as target practice for the nearly tank ranges.

They left a note on the church door :-
'Please treat the church and houses with care; we have given up our homes where many of us lived for generations to help win the war to keep men free. We shall return one day and thank you for treating the village kindly.'

They never returned.

These days you can walk the lovely cliff paths and visit the deserted village on weekends in the summer. They have restored the school, and living in an old school myself, I find it very poignant to look at the desks - it seems just as if the children had just gone home for the afternoon.

The church hosts an exhibition of old photos and artefacts from happier days, but has a stained glass window of Mary in front of a weeping willow. Very apt.

The one advantage of the military presence is that the wildlife has been protected and flourishes (unless it is dodging an incoming missile) Prince Harry is at present stationed with the army on a Junior Leaders course, learning to command tanks on the nearby range. Soon to be joined by Prince William.

The village is protected from the sea by a small range of hills, but a smugglers path leads to an isolated shingle bay - where I took the obigatory boot photo.


At 10:46 pm, Blogger Tabor said...

I wonder if the owners of the homes returned at some time? It must be very painful for them. We in America are such babies when I realize the tremendous sacrifices made by others. We complain about gas pumps being shut down for a day!

At 12:10 pm, Blogger kerrdelune said...

Val, lovely to visit this village and your imagery was so beautifully rendered and described that I felt as though I was right there on the island. There is something poignant and sad about such places, however lovely they are - one can sense the lives of the beings who called them home in the past, and there is a lingering fragrance of tea and hearth smoke.

At 10:10 am, Blogger vishwa said...

Nice write up Val. Places have an energy, a presence which we fail to notice most of the time. Reading this post, I'm reminded of my native village where I used to visit every summer in my childhood years.

At 3:08 pm, Blogger Kerri said...

I really love hearing about, and seeing the pics of these wonderful historical places with the romantic names Val. It must be my English blood (on my father's side) that has me loving all things about the UK and longing to visit :)
Thanks for this lovely tour. Rather a sad history.

At 12:43 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gorgeous...absolutely splendid.
Thank you for sharing.

At 9:37 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stunning pic! Is it Chessil by any chance? :)

At 10:33 am, Blogger Val said...

Hallo Dianne. Thanks for your comment - and that's a good guess. It does look similar - but no it is called Worbarrow Bay. The long sweep of Chesil Beach is,looking straight ahead from the photo of my boots, about an hour's drive up the coast.

At 4:33 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Val. Very nice blog Val, even if I did get the beach wrong!

At 4:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the clouds and the color in this photo and aren't those my boots you're wearing?


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