Imber village abandoned during World War II opens to public

Church of St Giles Image copyright David White
Image caption A replacement set of bells was hung in St Giles Church in 2010

A Wiltshire village that was abandoned during World War II after it was taken over by the military, is to open to the public for five days over Easter.

People living in Imber, on Salisbury Plain, were evacuated in December 1943 and were never allowed to return.

Sited in a military training zone, it is normally closed to the public.

From 30 March to 3 April, St Giles Church - one of the only buildings left standing in its original form - and the village, will be open to visitors.

A full peal of the bells, which were re-hung in August 2010 after the original bells were taken out in 1950, will be rung on Saturday and Wednesday.

Ordered to leave

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.

Public access to the village is granted by the Ministry of Defence on up to 50 days a year, including periods over Easter, Christmas, New Year and in August.

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