We've just had a fun weekend with friends in Dorset, during which we visited Tyneham (near Corfe Castle). This is such an interesting place, an unfortunate village whose 252 inhabitants were forced by the War Office to leave in 1943 so that it could be used by troops as a firing range. The evacuation was supposed to have been only temporary but after the war the Army placed a compulsory purchase order so the villagers were never allowed to return. It is still used for military training and the village is only accessible when the firing range is open to the public.

Tyneham is tucked into a valley where wild garlic and bluebells grow and a pretty stony beach is only a short walk away. The buildings lie in ruins, except for the church and the school, which was closed down in 1932 and has been preserved as a museum. I spent most of my time here, fascinated by the pictures on the walls, the beautifully illustrated desks with original school work displayed under glass on the tops. Such neat and pretty writing with beautiful drawings. And in the foyer there was a row of coat hooks, one for each child, with its own wooden painted name plate. I particularly liked this one for Violet Cake.

Violet Cake. What a wonderful name. And inside the school house, her nature study work was every bit as appealing.

After a good, long, look around the village, we wandered down to the sea. The water was so calm and the atmosphere so peaceful, despite the fact it was fairly busy, and we had a fun time building stone towers, searching for crabs and identifying the variety of fossils that lay embedded into the rocks.

And that night we slept so well having had our fill of fresh ozone and exercise.

Did you have a good weekend too?


  1. Violet Cake! Charming. You need to name your new/old dressform the same!
    Looks like a lovely visit.

  2. What an intriguing place..I can see the Tardis is there..Dr Who obviously lives there too! I always wondered what you do on stoney beaches with no sand anywhere around..you've set me straight..of course you would build stone towers..love it.

  3. That all looks like a very pleasant way to pass the school holidays although the story of Tyneham sounds so sad. What a shock to them all to be permanently excluded. It is one thing to leave for the war effort but quite another to abandon your home forever.

  4. what a lovely trip, so sad about all those families, but lovely that Violet's school work has lasted all these years.

  5. What an interesting post. Such a sad story about the village, but a beautiful place. And Violet Cake!! Such a charming name, and lovely to see her schoolwork.
    Have a lovely week. Helen x

  6. Thank you for sharing, how sad for the villager's but it does allow that capture of a place in time. Had the village have progressed and evolved over time we would not have known about violet cake, there would be no exquisite old telephone box. I am hoping to get to Imber in Wiltshre at some point which is another MOD taken over village. It is not as well preserved but the church has been kept.

  7. We visited Tyneham a few years back as I had read so much about it. It is an amazing little place. On the day that we went - in August - it was so warn that I actually swam in the bay - something I don't do too often in UK waters. xxxx

  8. What a facinating place, sad though that all those people were moved from their homes and never allowed back.
    Violet Cake is such a pretty name and her nature notes are lovely. :)
    Sounds like a perfect weekend!
    Vivienne x

  9. Oh, I would have loved to come along for such a visit! It sounds lovely and I am so glad you shared photos from the school. What wonderful history.

    I love your little vintage skirts too!

  10. How sad that the villagers were never allowed to return to their homes. My daughter was fascinated by this post. So glad they have turned the old school into a museum to record the village's history.

  11. Gosh what a story! We're holidaying at Corfe for Whit week so we'll definitely go and visit here if its open. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm rather obsessed by the 1940s so would love to visit.

    Have a super Easter.


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