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This walk is in heart of the 30km² (7,500 acre) Lulworth Military Range, an area littered with scrap military vehicles used as targets, and other bits of military paraphernalia.

It is also subject to regular shelling, so you have to keep to the way-marked paths.

On the plus side, the land has been kept free from development, and is a haven for wildlife.

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Looking out from the village car park, you can really get a sense of how beautiful the downs looked before they were intensively farmed.

From the car park there is a fine cliff-top walk of about 4 km (2.5 mls) down into Worbarrow Bay.

The ranges are open on selected weekends and for the whole of August (check opening days). Park in the public car park in Tyneham village and head for the cliffs.

Once you reach the bay, you can take a short diversion up to the top of the Tout (if you've got the legs), or go for a swim.

Mind you, the sea round here is mildly radio-active, as there is a an outfall from AERE Winfrith (or whatever it calls itself now that it has been privatised) just up the coast at Arish Mell. However, this does not seem to put people off swimming.

Allen Williams Steel Turret


Dorset Map

In a small enclosure just off the main path there used to be an unusual relic of World War II; an Allen Williams Steel Turret.

At one time a nearby plaque used to explain, this consisted of a hemispherical top made of welded metal plates over buried cylinder of concrete, just large enough for one person to stand in.

The idea of spending hours cooped up in one of these on a cold winter's day, does not bear thinking about.

When I visited in May 2013 the sign and the metal dome had been removed and the hole filled in, although you could still see where the turret had been.



Dorset Map

Like Imber in Wiltshire and the villages in the Stanford Training Area in Norfolk, Tyneham was taken over by the War Department during the Second World War, and never given back.

The Elizabethan manor house was pulled down in 1967, but the school (now a museum) and church are still in a good state of repair. There are also substantial remains of many of the other houses and cottages.