THE annual bus trip to the abandoned village of Imber is due to run for the first time in two years on August 21.

A fleet of about 25 old and new London Routemaster double-deckers will provide a regular service for one day between Warminster and the village, which was taken over by the military in 1943 and became a battle training area .

Imberbus is the brainchild of Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy and first started in 2009. It’s organised by the Bath Bus Company, with vehicles and staff from 15 different operators.

He said: “We’re delighted to be back on the road to Imber, and we’re looking forward to giving people a unique and pleasurable day out. Everyone involved gives their time and vehicles for nothing, so we run probably the most profitable rural bus service in Britain, and one where all the fares go to charity.”

Chief executive of Visit Wiltshire David Andrews said: “This is a welcome initiative for Wiltshire and I am delighted to see the return of Imberbus following a two year break.

“The event has continued to grow in popularity since its inception in 2009, and I am sure it will again be well attended by local residents and tourists visiting and staying in Wiltshire.”

The 2019 run attracted around 3,000 people, and donated nearly £30,000 to the Friends of St.Giles’s Church, Imber, the Royal British Legion Poppy Day Appeal and to other charities related to those who help Imberbus. This year’s event will support the same charities.

Buses will pick up outside Warminster station and run to Imber, before continuing on across Salisbury Plain on military roads rarely open to the public, to Chitterne, Tilshead and the Lavingtons.

No advance booking is needed. An adult all-day ticket will cost £10. Each paying adult can be accompanied by up to three children paying £1 each for an all-day ticket.

Unlike previous years, access to Imber will only be possible via the Imberbuses. Passengers will be required to wear face coverings while on the buses, and in St Giles’s church, Imber, unless medically exempt.