Highlight: The Lulworth Ranges and Tyneham
Between Lulworth Cove and Kimmeridge Bay is a stretch of coastline that is all but abandoned. It was emptied of people by the Ministry of Defence during the Second World War and used as a tank training range. The British Army still own and operate the ranges and tanks and armoured vehicles continue to take part in live firing practice.
The obvious dangers keep access restricted, and the permitted paths through the ranges are only open at set times. Within these circumstances of strict regulation and explosive military activity, the coastline of the ranges has become something very special.
Red flags are flown and lamps are lit to indicate live firing times at the Lulworth Ranges, when access is prohibited to the live firing Range Danger Area. These firing times are subject to last-minute change. Please phone 01929 404819 to listen to an answering machine that gives up-to-date access information.
For over 60 years the area has been protected from development and is perhaps the most open and natural stretch on the Jurassic Coast. The high downs offer spectacular views over tranquil Warbarrow bay and east across Purbeck. The rich grassland is home to rare butterflies and is a hunting ground for birds of prey.
At the heart of the ranges lies the derelict village of Tyneham. Its residents agreed to leave when the MOD took possession of the land. In November 1943 notice was given to the villagers that they would be required to leave within 28 days as the area was needed for forces’ training, on 17 December 1943 the last villagers left believing that one day they would be able to return. Sadly they never returned.
(Access is allowed most weekends and all public holidays)
The Lulworth Ranges, empty and yet so full, are a rare chance to see a piece of England frozen in time.