THE RARELY seen ghost town of Imber is briefly open to the public. But when we visited, it appeared as abandoned as ever.

Imber villagers were told to leave their homes in 1943 with just 47 days’ notice. This was done to make way for US troops to train for the liberation of Europe. 

As the Ministry of Defence owned most of the land on the Salisbury Plains most of the villagers were tenants and had no choice but to move on.

To this day it is used by the MoD for training and the roads leading to the area are rarely open to the public. 

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Imber CourtImber Court

Entering the village early on December 30 was an incredible experience, and should be on anyone’s Wiltshire bucket list. Not many counties in England have sights quite like this. 

With the only real sound being wind blowing through the aching trees – it is easy to find the atmosphere quite spooky. 

READ MORE: Hospital suspends visiting due to spike in Covid cases

When we ventured to the village there were no other people around; save a few cars passing by on the road running through. 

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Pictures from Imber village

St Giles’ church looms large over the long-abandoned village and while visitors can see the church it is only during specific hours. 

Eerie is the only word appropriate to describe the atmosphere walking around. Of course much of the village is still off-limits with visitors guided by white tape. This includes the interiors of the houses and pub, as well as one of the streets. 

The council houses – which exist along what would be the high street – were evacuated just five years after being built. 

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Pictures from Imber village

These houses, despite having indoor toilets, all shared a single water source – a hand pump found between the eight properties. 

READ MORE: Appeal to convert cattle barn into a four-bed house rejected

It’s hard not to want to see the houses up close but if visitors cross the white tape barrier or ignore any of the safety information, it could result in a fine of up to £20. 

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Pictures from Imber village

The eager, however, can peak inside the open window frames of Seagram’s Farm which has shrunk since its heyday.

But the farm offers a very literal window into what the village homes would have looked like. Although now mostly stripped bare, remnants of the past can still be seen in the cobbled flooring and recognisable headpiece.  

The village is open until Tuesday, January 4. Imber is normally opened to the public over the Christmas period and in the summer. In total, public access is granted for a maximum of 50 days per year.

For more information on the past and present visit: