"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

DORSET Part 2 - 29th June: Tyneham, Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door and a Very Special Moth Visitor

We visited Tyneham - sometimes called "the lost village of Dorset" on Sunday. I know several of you have visited the village and know its history but for those who haven't its a very poignant story.

Before the war Tyneham was a secluded, small agricultural village in East Dorset. On the 16th November, 1943, 225 inhabitants of 102 properties were sent letters telling them that they had to leave their homes by the 19th December as the War Department was requisitioning the area so it could be used for D-day training. The villagers believed they would eventually be able to return and were proud to make sacrifices to help the war effort and the village was evacuated by Christmas.

Unfortunately, the residents never did return to their homes as the Government in 1945 made the decision to retain the valley for army training purposes and today the area still plays an important role in the training of Britain's forces. The village is only open to the public at weekends and during school holidays.

It really was quite busy there so it was difficult to get a sense of place and atmosphere although the further the cottages from the car park the quieter it was!!

The first public telephone kiosk only arrived in the village in 1929. Prior to this the villagers made contact with the outside world by telegram, later using the phone in the back office of the post office. After the evacuation of the village the kiosk, along with the cottages, gradually disappeared in the undergrowth and self-seeded trees. It was restored in 1983 only to be destroyed in 1985 during the filming of "Comrades". The phone kiosk you see today is a replacement bought by the film company..

The school has been restored and a classroom depicting the early 1900's has been recreated.

The Rectory is now a single storey shell.

It was good to see so many conservation areas and wildflowers. I saw several Ringlet and Meadow Brown butterflies among the grasses - sadly, I couldn't manage to get a photo.

The church of St Mary the Virgin was renovated in the 1970's.

Evelyn Bond was the last person to leave the village when it was evacuated and she pinned a note on the church door as she was leaving which read

"Please treat the church and houses with care. We have given up our homes where many of us have 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".

Lots of lichen growing on stone walls - one of these days I'll have another attempt at identifying this group.

The Gardeners Cottage - Home of the Gould Family 1925 -1943.

Tyneham Farm

The "Scrappy Wall"

A recently created garden.

I will remember the village by bearing in mind these words written on an information board "Much has been written in which this place is cast as somehow lost - a ghost village. It's neither lost nor dead, but it has evolved in unfamiliar ways and remains one of the most beautiful places in the country. Tyneham gave its heart for its country in 1943, but with sympathetic management its soul will survive for generations to come."

The village is totally uncommercialised and there is no shop or museum or visitor centre. However, for those of you interested in the village I did manage to find (in the National Trust shop in Corfe Castle!!) a wonderful little book called The Tyneham Story by Robert Westwood which gives so much information about the history of the village and is well worth buying.

Lulworth Cove was not far away so this was our destination after lunch. It was even busier there - sometimes I think I would like to visit these places in October when they may be a little quieter and it would be easier to soak up the atmosphere.

If you are interested in Geology, Lulworth (in fact the whole of the Jurassic coast) is just paradise.

The rocks here at Lulworth Cove form a continuous sequence over 80 million years from Jurassic Limestones to Cretaceous Chalk. The cove itself is a perfect example of a horseshoe bay formed by a stream cutting through the limestone allowing the sea to enter the valley and erode the softer clays behind the limestone barrier. The chalk at the rear of the bay forms a resistant barrier.

There were lots of Marbled White butterflies fluttering around on the cliff top and dozens of small yellow moths - I just couldn't get a close enough look to identify.

We decided to go on a trip on a speedboat - £6 for a 15 minute trip along the coast - very exhilarating and well worth the money!!I was last on the boat which meant I got a front seat which made photography easier.

It was certainly a very novel view of Durdle Door!!

You might just be able to make out the "Lulworth Crumple" at Stairhole in the photo below. The folds in the rocks in this area were formed 30 million years when the African and Eurasian plates collided in the Mediterranean area creating pressures in the Earth's surface layers. This same event led to the creation of the Alps.

It was only when we eventually returned to the car that I remembered the fossilised forest. Hopefully, we will return to Dorset soon and can visit then. I'd also like to get a more conventional view of Durdle Door and the Stairhole!!

Later that evening I noticed B gesticulating wildly from the garden - he had spotted a Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectaring on lavender. Just the one record shot - it didn't linger long although it did return briefly the following morning. This sighting was probably the highlight of the holiday for me - I've only ever seen this species once before in Jersey.


Countryside Tales said...

Jealous, jealous, jealous :-) I've been waiting all summer to see another one after the first came visiting last year. SOOOO pleased for you- I'll bet you're still smiling.
Am enjoying all the places you've been too- Tyneham is a very poignant place and Durdle Dor is breath-taking- we last went in a terrific storm and nearly all got blown off the cliff!

amanda peters said...

What a place, intresting and beautiful. You have some great memories.
Amanda x

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - lol :) Much as it was the holiday highlight I'd still swap it for your Purple Emperor :) I would imagine Durdle Door in a storm is utterly breathtaking :) I haven't been since I was a child. Have totally fallen in love with Dorset after last year and now this year's holiday.

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much. Yes, have some great memories and going through the photos and writing the blog brings it all back - almost like being there again :)

Pete Duxon said...

cracking spot on the moth!! And even I think that a HHM is exciting!!

Tyneham is somewhere I must visit!

Chris Rohrer said...

What a beautiful trek! The first part of the story in the forgotten village is so sad. War is terrible. Imagining what it was all like in the past is quite bittersweet. And the woman leaving a note on the door forever.....A beautiful story.

Ragged Robin said...

Pete Duxon - Thanks so much Pete :) I can't quite believe that you are so enthusiastic about a moth even though it was a HHM !!!! :)

Yes, you really MUST visit :)

Chris Rohrer - Thanks so much Chris. Yes, Tyneham was very moving and poignant. The woman and the note on the church door was a particularly sad moment bearing in mind they never returned :(

Bovey Belle said...

Happy memories of two of my favourite places in Dorset. I wish we had lived there longer or been able to return from here. Can't afford to go back now, sadly, as house prices have shot up in Dorset.

Ragged Robin said...

Bovey Belle - Thank you. I am so glad it brought back happy memories. I could quite happily live there too - had a look in some Estate Agents windows and yes you are right property is expensive :( I wonder if its any cheaper inland? Would like to move when B retires but how far depends on whether D and E are still living with us!!