Church bells ring out at deserted village of Imber, Wiltshire

A full peal of bells has been rung at a church in a Wiltshire village that was abandoned during World War II.

The bells were rung at St Giles Church, in Imber, on Salisbury Plain, which was abandoned and taken over by troops for training in 1943.

It will be the fourth time a full peal has been rung since a new set of six bells was re-hung in August 2010.

The original bells were taken out in 1950. Bell ringers from Devon took part in Monday's peal.

Honorary custodian of the church, Neil Skelton, said: "Only one full peal of bells was ever rung on the church's original bells, in 1923, and that was rung by a band of ringers from Trowbridge.

"We have the church open for about 20 days a year now, depending on what access the Ministry of Defence grants us."

The entire civilian population of the village was ordered to leave in December 1943 to provide a training area for American troops preparing for the invasion of Europe during World War II.

They were never allowed to return.

Since 2005, when the church was taken over by the Churches Conservation Trust, more than £300,000 has been spent on renovations.

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