The village of Imber, tucked away on Salisbury Plain. In 1943, the village was evacuated with residents given just 43 days notice to leave. They never returned. The village was swallowed up as part of the military training area and remains so. I wrote a little bit about the history of Imber here.

Why Visit?

It’s the perfect post- Christmas wander to blow away the cobwebs and walk off the festive excess.

The open days at the village are something special; general access to the area is not permitted for much of the year. There are only a few key dates when you can see and explore what remains of Imber.

It’s free, you don’t need to pre book and it’s a relatively covid safe option, being out doors with ample space to socially distance.

What to Expect?

Abandoned buildings, a haunting history and a glimpse into the world of modern day military training. The village is made up of original buildings such as the former ‘big house’ Imber Court and later additions such as the 1930’s council houses. There is also a modern style housing estate added by the MoD to train soldiers to fight in an urban environment.

The heart of the village was- and remains- the church. It’s the only building left that is afforded some protection. St Giles sits behind it’s own protective fence, is the only building in the village not used by the military in training. The building is managed by the Churches Conservation Trust. The church is open 11.00 – 16.00 during village open days, acting as a visitor centre of sorts and selling light refreshments.

Look out for the floral and foliage arrangements at the church, they are created by volunteers and based on the style and traditions that residents of Imber would have known when the church was in use.

When to Visit?

As previously mentioned , the village is not open for general public across the year. If you want to visit you need to go on one of the Imber Village open days, usually held around Christmas, Easter and August. Dates are scheduled to coincide with the times the military are ‘stood down’ and the military training calendar will dictate dates of public access. All of that said, good news…

Imber will be open for access from the 29th of December 2021 until the 3rd of January 2022. St Giles church will be open on these dates from 11.00 – 16.00

Things to Keep in Mind…

Salisbury Plain is, first and foremost, a military training area. It’s important to stick to the public rights of way and comply with any signage telling you where you can/ can’t go. This isn’t the place to go off piste.

Don’t be tempted to venture into the buildings, they are strictly off limits unless expressly told otherwise. You can get close enough to peek inside and get some pictures, no need to risk going in.

There will be light refreshments on sale at St Giles, payment is cash only. You’ll also find information and photographs here about the history of the village and the forced evacuation.

Toilets are available in the form of Portaloos. Never lovely, but the best you can expect in an abandoned village I suppose. Take tissues and hand sanitiser.


Imber doesn’t have a working post code and it can be a bit of an adventure to find. Find directions to the village here. Look out for these signs, then you’ll know you’ve found the road in.

Further Information

For details of open days and events in present day Imber : www.imberchurch.org.uk

For a look into the history of Imber and the people who lived there: www.imbervillage.co.uk

And Finally…

If abandoned villages that come with an intriguing history are up your street, you might also enjoy reading about the village of Tyneham in Dorset.

Helen x

23 thoughts

  1. Just the right amount of information to send me scampering off to the links out of curiosity, Helen. A visit in person is out of the question, as we’re just back in the Algarve after a 3 day swoop on Leeds. Croquet today and Thursday, eating with friends, and walking tomorrow and Friday. I’ll think again when I get to the weekend. Wishing you a joyful new year!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      That sounds like a busy but happy schedule! Isn’t it a joy to be able to go places and see people this year, albeit with caution. All the best to you too, heres to a happy and healthy year ahead.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      I’m just so happy to see the village open again this year, it was another thing that fell to covid last year. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, I really appreciate the support 😊

  2. I’ve just had a look at the links and I’ve sent them on to a friend n Brighton suggesting we meet there (her with her car as I am no longer able to see well enough to drive), looks interesting. Short walk today if the wind doesn’t blow me away (it’s building up to gale force) but tomorrow sitting in the ‘curtain shop’ picking out materials for curtains and later walking around that town. Lunch with friends on Friday, hairdressers, and then it’s weekend when we start planning. These days I don’t plan too far ahead as the disappointment is too great sometimes. I’ve got a couple of dinners out next week and keeping fingers crossed they will still be on, but who knows?

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Oh it would be brilliant if you made it over to see the village! I know what you mean about the disappointment, it gets very disheartening having to treat everything as ‘pencilled in’ or ‘subject to change’. I’m hopeful this coming year is the beginning of the end of it all… we must stay hopeful!

  3. Such an interesting place Helen, I’d never heard of Imber before but if I return to Wiltshire, will definitely visit πŸ™‚

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      It’s definitely worth a visit if you get a chance!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      That sounds like a great plan.

  4. As I read I kept thinking, ‘this reminds me of our visit to Tyneham’, and sure enough when I got to the end you mentioned the similarity! Not sure I’ll ever be in this area around the right times of year but if so will definitely consider a visit, it sounds fascinating.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Both Tyneham and Imber are interesting places, although the loss of them to the villagers is sad. I think Tyneham is a bit more accessible as it’s open at points in the Summer as long as there is no live firing on. There’s something really fascinating about abandoned places, speaks to my imagination!

  5. Imber village sounds a fascinating place to visit. I imagine it must have a very special atmosphere. We are walking as much as ever with Zeph, although the wet and mud is less appealing – to us, not him! We’ve discovered an abandoned golf course which has footpaths through it and is perfect for meetings of our unofficial Border Collie Club!

  6. Such an intriguing sounding place. A little spooky mind, especially if you drive by at night. X

  7. themindfulstag says:

    This seems like an extremely interesting place to visit! I’m definitely adding this to my list of must visits! Thanks for sharing!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thank you, I really appreciate you taking the time to read and leave a lovely comment. I absolutely love your blog name and logo, I’m very inspired by the woods and woodland creatures.

  8. Who knew that some villages had “open dates” for visiting. Looks like a fun place for an adventure!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      It’s because the military do live firing exercises up there, so the area is usually off limits to the public. Which makes it a big deal when it does open, especially as Covid kept it closed much of last year. Thanks so much for dropping by!

  9. I heard about this place years ago, and your account has certainly whetted my appetite to wander round for myself. All good wishes for 2022!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thanks Margaret, here’s to a good year ahead for all of us!

  10. I never knew of this place but it sounds SO interesting. Would love to visit, thanks for sharing this information!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thank you, it really is a fascinating place. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, too.

  11. cjlittleone79 says:

    The history of this lovely village sounds interesting! I enjoy a little history lesson! And even better with it being haunted!

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