Elusive Territory

Our aim on this site is to transport you in ways which, for one reason or more, are likely to represent particularly  interesting, out-of-the-ordinary experiences not possible any old day of the week.

The major part of Salisbury Plain is a military training area - good for wildlife, not good for human civilians (most of the time!). Military tenure became complete when the village of Imber was permanently evacuated in 1943 - you may not even find this "ghost" village on your maps. Roads may at most be dotted lines. Two or three times a year though, war games stop. The guns fall silent on selected public holidays. You can drive across, bicycle across, walk, whatever, freely, but you must stick to the road. No telephone boxes if you break down - take a mobile - it should be in range if you need it, except at Imber, which is in a hollow... and there's a ranger patrol which keeps a reassuring eye on things. For anyone in, or visiting, the UK, it's an unusual, interesting, - and rare - experience.

The first thing a visitor meets is the rotateable notice - which, when the roads are open, will be reading "The carriageways are open until..."

 Please note - do not leave the road.

Otherwise, you are now free to explore the road system - basically a cross, with the village of Imber at the intersection.

Notice at Gore Cross
Bratton to Imber The bridge in the middle of this photograph of the Bratton to Imber road is for tracked vehicles - others go around it. Expect potholes (and mud in December) so take care. Past experience has been that you are likely to find most road users here rather more careful than on our main highways, encouraging a feeling of time warp not often encountered in Britain today.
(Tyneham, in Dorset, is another "ghost" village, similarly evacuated in the national interest, a few days before Christmas, 1943).
Although the village of Imber has been largely  replaced by a few boxy mock houses and shops, the church fabric was maintained by the Army since1943, an important gesture to those whose loved ones are buried here, and now by The Churches Conservation Trust, allowing slightly more access, and a service is held once a year -  This annual event takes place either on St. Giles' day, September 1, or on the nearest Saturday to it. The church was open for visitors on the Easter weekend, 11/13April, 2009.
St. Giles' church - Imber - December 2001

Conditions during the crisp dry Christmas holiday, 2001, were excellent, in contrast to the previous year (mud, snow, and mist). The public could visit Imber at will, driving easily over quiet, normally closed roads (Gore Cross to Warminster, and from Bratton to Heytesbury) between 21st December and the New Year 2002. The tranquility was in contrast to the pre-Christmas bustle on other Wiltshire roads! Bank holiday access information is available in the press..See Also:- Hidden Britain

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