10 of Britain’s most eccentric villages: chosen by readers

10 of britains most eccentric villages chosen by readers

Ilam, Staffordshire, is a surprise. Although there has been a settlement here since Saxon times, the current buildings are all in the style of a Swiss village. It was built in the early 1800s by a wealthy local landowner, Jesse Watts-Russell, purely because the surrounding Peak District area reminded him of Switzerland. Unlike some wealthy landowners, he seems to have been something of a philanthropist – he built and funded a school before education was compulsory. visitpeakdistrict.comJane

Remains of the abandoned settlement on the island of Scarp. Photograph: Lynne Evans/Alamy

Scarp village on the Isle of Scarp was once home to 200 people following the clearances from the Isle of Harris. Life here was hard: the soil was poor, and there was no harbour, so families were unable to thrive. Both the village and island were deserted in 1971. The township was immortalised in a film (2004’s The Rocket Post) thanks to an unsuccessful 1934 experiment to deliver mail by rocket by a German engineer, Gerhard Zucker, who was later deported but continued to pursue his mail rocket dreams long after the second world war…

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