The Ghost Town of Copehill Down

Last weekend, I did the Salisbury Plain Walk, part of which circles around the village of Copeland Hill.


After making sure there weren’t any FRZs or NOTAMs on Drone Scene, and no signage about stating no drones aloud … I TOAL’d from the public footpath and grabbed short 3 minute video of the empty village.

I also checked the MoD Public Safety at Salisbury Plain and the Imber Range bye-laws, although it doesn’t appear to have been updated since 1963. Regardless, there is no mention of drones.

From a distance, Copehill Down looks just like any other new development of houses cropping up all over the county. It’s only as you get closer, to this most unusual of Wiltshire villages that you begin to realise that there’s something not quite right. Not only is it not mentioned on any maps of the area, but it’s been built on a firing range on the edge of tank-track scarred Salisbury Plain.

Twinned with Bonnland Hammelburg, a military training village in Germany, Copehill Down was built in 1988 as a mock-up village for troops to hone their skills at ‘FIBUA’ or fighting in built-up areas. The mock Bavarian village not only boasts a pub and bar, a train depot with railway tracks and six or so train wagons, but also a church named after the Patron Saint of Lost Causes, St Judes. The small Eastern Block village also boasts a fake garage, a petrol station, shops and a school.

With 80 plus buildings and over 2,000 rooms, it’s the largest FIBUA training facility in Western Europe. Covering an area, almost 350m by 450m, the northern European looking Town got itself a neighbour, a decade ago, an Iraqi looking village which has, as far as we know, remained nameless. Built out of ISO Cargo Containers balanced one on top the other the Iraqi Village has also been purpose built by the MOD for FIBUA training.


Excellent informative video.

Great video. Looking at some of the walkers it looks as if you can walk around the town, though guessing not!

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The public footpath circles around the town, and there were quite few people out that day. On the DIO website, it does say walking into the village is not permitted. That said, it is completely open, and I am sure some folk do walk through it.

They really spent a lot of effort on making the village as realistic as possible.

Some photos below (not mine) …

The church even has a cemetry :scream:


Very Erie !

It is definitely one of those places that you wouldn’t want to camp over night!

It does look half war torn deserted, I don’t fancy it ! Looking at the video & those pictures you kinda get the feeling of what it’s about, actually you do get the feeling.

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I spent about half an hour searching for the right music, to match the ‘eeriness’ of the village.

Is there no security there then do you know, maybe they come & check I would have thought .

None whatsoever. Like I said, there were loads of walkers out, some families walking their dogs. And nothing to stop people wandering into the village, which is a bit mad. No barriers or fences, nothing.

I didn’t chance it, I TOAL’d from here (blue circle), then got the hell out of there :joy::man_running::dash:


:ghost: :joy:

Brilliant, once again sir!

Cheers John, glad you liked it :+1:

At least someone got to do an alternative to the postponed Chernobyl trip.

@clinkadink Nice one Chris :ok_hand:, an unusual departure from your documentary style vids but totally appropriate given the subject matter. Your search for the right music paid off, and along with the horror vibe effects, it totally works. It’s enough for me; I’ll not be planning a visit there anytime soon!:face_with_spiral_eyes: It’s like going down to the basement, with the lights not working on a stormy night… no way!:rofl::rofl:

Thanks mate.

Yes, it is not my norm for sure. It wasn’t even a planned shoot. I happened to be there, thought about taking some photos - but then thought a short video would be better to capture the vibe of the place.

I have 2 other vids that I am in the progress of making, which are my usual documentary style vids. One of which has taken 4 months to put together so far :man_facepalming:

Great feedback, Col. In person, the place is very eerie and I wanted to get this across in the video. I hadn’t done those type of effects before, so had to learn how to make them in Premiere. Thankfully, there’s a lot of how-tos on YT. Really enjoyed making it, and happy with the short but spooky end result :+1:

Back in the day I did a couple of Airsoft events there.

Assaulting up the road into the village following an APC as the sun started to set and then fighting through the village in the night with tracer fire between buildings above will be something I’ll never forget.

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That would be one for the bucket list :star_struck:

I cannot think of a better setting for Airsoft. I did read on the DIO website that they rent it out to events such as these.

Damn it… that’s Sennybridge… I got myself all mixed up!

I did do Copehill Down as well… I remember having to run a checkpoint, searching vans and cars. Then again fighting through the night…

There’s no photos of Copehill that I can find.

In my defence this would be about 19 years ago…