On a cold winter’s evening back in 2009, over a few pints in a Bath pub, four transport professionals came up with the idea of running a bus service to the village of Imber on Salisbury Plain.
The village of Imber is no longer inhabited as the residents were evicted just before Christmas 1943 by the MoD, in order to step up army training in advance of D-Day. The villagers were promised that their village would be returned to them after the war but this was not to be and 66-years on it is still uninhabited, much of it having been damaged or destroyed. It remains in use for army training purposes but the connecting road is open to the public on a limited number of occasions each year and previously only accessible to the public if they had their own transport.
Following lengthy negotiations with the Ministry of Defence at a very senior level, the Bath Bus Company was permitted, with the cooperation of several other operators, Transport for London and Wiltshire Council’s Transport Department, to run a bus service 23A from Warminster to the village of Imber on 5th September 2009. Operated as an ordinary local bus service using former London Transport Routemaster buses, the service proved to be very successful and so has now become an annual event, with services now extending beyond Imber to the villages of Market Lavington, Tilshead and Chitterne, plus other remote locations on Salisbury Plain, such as New Zealand Farm Camp and Brazen Bottom.
Our 2016 event proved to be the most successful yet with 18 vehicles in operation and more than £9000 donated to the Imber Church fund and the Royal British Legion. We are now preparing for Imberbus 2017 and further details of this will be published here soon.
Numerous reports and photographs about our previous events are available on the internet, including the following:
Imberbus 2016 – Battling the Weather
- BBC Ghost Village report (including Aerial pictures)
- Routemaster buses take Imber visitors back_in_time (Wiltshire Times report)
- Drone Aerial footage of Imber, including Imberbuses
- Photos on Flickr taken by KS Chow, Ken Jones, Ekawrecker, Tim Welbourn and others.
Imberbus 2015 – Borrowing the battlebus
- Diamond Geezer visits Imber
- Imberbus coverage on Forces TV
- A bus to the ‘ghost village’ of Imber (article in the Financial times)
- Report in the Wiltshire Times newspaper
- Focus Transport have a Great Day out at Imberbus
- Photos on Flickr taken by Clive Brown, Tubemad, Southampton Atlantean, Billy Birkett, Peter Burt, Martin Baldwin, Andrew and others.
In addition, further information on the Battle Bus project can be found here.
Imberbus 2014 – making a splash !
- On the road to nowhere: Imberbus article in the independent
- More shooting from Katie Pickersgill on Flickr
- An Imberbus slideshow on Youtube by Dwayne Alexander
- Imberbus photographs on Facebook
- The military comandeer RMC1510 (as reported on Twitter)!
- Report of the event in “Route One” magazine
Imberbus 2013 – to Copehill Down and Chitterne
- A report of the event from the “Locks and Life” blog
- IanVisits Imberbus – blog report and photographs
- Martin Baldwin’s Routemaster Road Trip to the ‘Lost Village of Imber’
- What Katie shot next – Photo’s taken by Katie Pickersgill
- Imberbus photos taken by Chippenham Lodekka
- Photos on Flickr from Buslover22
- London Reconnections – Imber Buses in Pictures
Imberbus 2012 – Celebrating the Jubilee with the Old and the New
- A YouTube video of a Routemaster Ride to Brazen Bottom
- Photos on Flickr taken by Katie Pickersgill
- and more from First Bristol
- A report of the event on the Focus Transport Website
- Photos of LT1 from Chippenham Loddekka
- … and a report of its participation on the Omnibuses Blogspot
Imberbus 2011 – New Zealand Farm and Brazen Bottom
- The bus to Imber rides again
- Market Lavington Museum Blog
- Imber Day from Lavington Life
- Leon Daniels’ Imberbus Blog
- Wiltshire Wanderings Imberbus photographs
- Cheque presentation to the Royal British Legion
Imberbus 2010 – Buses to the Bustard
- Leon Daniels’ Imberbus Blog
- Warminster People – Warminster to Imber on the 23A
- Warminster People – Day Trip to Imber
- London Evening Standard’s Imberbus article
Imberbus 2009 – The first year
- Warminster People – Double-decker-buses-cross-Salisbury-Plain
- Warminster People – Bus-Trip-Warminster-Imber (photographs)
- Night Hawk’s Weblog – On the bus to nowhere