Lying quietly between its larger and more well-known neighbours of Wareham, famous for its Saxon heritage, and the Arne Nature Reserve, a 565 hectare expanse of wood and heathland maintained by the RSPB, sits the hamlet of Arne.

For a small place, Arne in fact has quite a big, yet little-known, history.

During the First World War, a Royal Navy explosives factory had been built at nearby Holton Heath – but fast forward to 1942, and this Cordite factory had been earmarked as target during WWII.

In order to protect the factory from German bombers, decoys were set up throughout and around Arne village, complete with guards and fake factory emissions. It had the desired effect. Arne was mistaken for the Cordite factory, and the village and its surrounding area were badly bombed. It was reported that the area was devastated by the subsequent fire that burned for weeks.

It is believed there are some 200 bomb craters around Arne – a village which had essentially been sacrificed in order to leave the factory in Holton Heath unscathed.

The plan in terms of the war effort was a success, but the action inevitably forced residents to leave their homes, much like with the more well-known local story of the village of Tyneham.

Arne was then left untouched for several years. However, there is now a small, but thriving community enjoying the peaceful countryside that is now teeming with wildlife in its surrounding area of the RSPB Arne Nature Reserve.

Arne parish

The Parish of Arne comprises Arne itself; Ridge and Stoborough villages; and the areas of Furzebrook Road and Worgret.

Parish Council meetings are held in Stoborough village hall every third Thursday of the month at 7pm.

The village hall in Stoborough also holds a variety of regular groups and activities for residents of the parish of Arne and Purbeck, including art groups, belly dancing and a toddler group.