Weymouth-Dorset.co.uk Local History


Dorset's Lost Village

Tyneham is a small village nestling in the valley below Whiteway Hill. However, it is no ordinary village, but one where time has stood still except for the ravages of time, which have taken their toll. For Tyneham was once a populated village, the villagers living their daily lives without thought of what one day was going to happen. The Second World War came and although Tyneham was not a place likely to be targeted by bombs, the Ministry of Defence targeted it instead.

The villagers were told to leave their homes in order that the army could take over the land for the duration of the war. They were promised their homes back at such time as the war ended, but in the event, they never got to live in their homes again. It is still to this day M.O.D. land as indeed it is all around the area. Access to Tyneham is only when the M.O.D. allow, mainly at weekends, when there is no practice firing on the ranges.

Now the little village lies in ruins except for the church and old schoolhouse that has been preserved as it was left all those years ago. The names of the pupils are still there with their coat pegs, their work still on the old desks.

Post Office Row, Tyneham Village and the old schoolhouse, Tyneham

Post Office Row, Tyneham Village and the old Schoolhouse

It is a strange experience to walk round the village, haunted by times gone by and time stood still. The houses, the laundry cottages, the rectory, all are in ruins. Many of them are now too dangerous to walk into and there is no public access allowed.

Old Telephone Box, inside one of the houses and St. Mary's Church, Tyneham village

Telephone Box, a fireplace in one of the houses, St. Mary's Church, Tyneham

A walk out of the village leads to the ruins of Tyneham Farm and the old farmlands where sheep still graze. Turning right and following the path for about 3/4 of a mile, passing the ruins of Sea Cottage, leads to a secluded beach at Worbarrow Bay.

the ruins of Sea Cottage and Worbarrow Bay, Tyneham

The ruins of Sea Cottage and Worbarrow Bay

The beach is rocky with shingle leading to sand. The water is very clear, almost transparent.


Historical Parish Information


Parish Registers begin:


Hundred or Liberty:

Hasler or Hasilor

Poor Law Union & Registration District:

Wareham & Purbeck

Online Parish Clerk Project (external link):

Tyneham OPC

Nearby Parishes and Places

Lulworth, East and West, and Lulworth Cove

Osmington, Osmington Mills and Ringstead






Links to other websites:

Dorsetshire - Tyneham - this site has some old pictures of Tyneham as it was before the wartime occupation and desertion of the village.


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All photographs on this page are my own and I therefore hold the copyright. Please respect this and if you wish to copy any of them or use them elsewhere, please ask permission first.