TWO villages have been ghost towns for decades after locals were forced to flee 80 years ago.
Residents of Imber and Tyneham were ordered to evacuate in 1943 as Salisbury Plain was taken over by troops preparing for D-Day.
After the war, the two villages remained cordoned off inside an active military training area on the plain.
Imber in Wiltshire now has no postcode or inhabitants, and a maximum of 50 days of public access a year.
Apart from the restored church, most of the buildings have been damaged during years of tank, armoured vehicle and live fire training.
Villagers in Tyneham, Dorset, were given just 28 days to leave after the evacuation order in 1943.
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One resident left a door of the village church reading: "Please treat the church and houses with care.
"We have given up our homes where many of us lived for generations to help win the war to keep men free.
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"We shall return one day and thank you for treating the village kindly."
But the government retained Tyneham for use as an army training-ground, despite a public outcry culminating in a parliamentary debate on the village's future.
Most of the village's ruined buildings are now cordoned off behind metal fencing, but visitors can enter the abandoned church and schoolhouse, which have been turned into a museum.
Wildlife has thrived in the abandoned area, leading to the surrounding coastline's designation as England's only World Natural Heritage Site.
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation told the BBC: "The real magic of Tyneham and other parts of the Lulworth Ranges is the mosaic of wildflower-rich grassland, ancient woodlands, mires and heaths that have largely escaped agricultural intensification as a direct result of being in Ministry of Defence ownership."
Among the rare species hosted by the abandoned area are the Lulworth Skipper butterfly and the Sainfoin bee.
It comes after residents of an idyllic seaside resort were devastated after it became a "ghost town" with empty bars and derelict shops.
Brean in Somerset is dominated by the giant Pontins Holiday Park, but this year thousands of holidaymakers will be missing.
For the next three years, the camp will be taken over by construction workers at the nearby Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
Locals in Nottinghamshire are also fuming after their "amazing" town centre became a wasteland strewn with litter, pigeon waste and cracked paving.
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