Ride a Routemaster to St Giles'
Ride England's obscurest bus route, the 23A, which transports visitors one day a year on London Routemaster buses to St Giles' Church in the lost village of Imber. The church is the last public building in Imber, a village evacuated in 1943 by the Army to allow it to be used as a training area in the run-up to the D-Day landings. The residents never returned, and the village is now open only a few weeks each year .
This year, the "Imberbus" runs on Saturday 20th August 2016, an annual heritage bus outing running from Warminster across to the lost village of Imber and other isolated locations on Salisbury Plain.
The route is the brainchild of a small team, led by Sir Peter Hendy CBE, Chairman of Network Rail, and came into being as a result of a conversation in a Bath pub on a cold winter’s evening back in 2009, as four transport professionals tried to outbid each other for England's obscurest bus route. Eventually, they decided to run it themselves...to the lost village of Imber in the middle of Salisbury Plain.
The day offers a unique way to access medieval St Giles's Church, looked after by the Friends of St Giles and The Churches Conservation Trust, and also allows passengers a new perspective on the lost village and the expanse of the Salisbury Plain, at its best when seen from the top of a double deck bus.
The Imberbus is operated mainly using original red London double decker Routemaster buses, but also includes the new wheelchair-accessible New Routemasters, which are now in service on the streets of London. The annual fundraising event, raises thousands of pounds for The Friends of St. Giles's Church Imber and the Royal British Legion Poppy Day Appeal.
Buses leave from Warminster Station and travel across Salisbury Plain, where the Church is be open and refreshments available. The Imberbus service thens continue on across the Plain to the villages of Market/West Lavington or to Tilshead and Chitterne, as well as erving other isolated locations rarely visited by the public, such as New Zealand Farm Camp and the interestingly-named Brazen Bottom (high on the Plain above Market Lavington).
Tickets for the journey from Warminster to Imber are very reasonably priced. Further information and details of the timetable can be found at www.imberbus.wordpress.com Visitors are encouraged to park at Warminster and travel to Imber by bus to avoid congestion in the village.
For the latest on openings at St Giles' Church, Imber, see: http://imberchurch.org.uk/