West Bay Discovery Centre is owned and operated by the Bridport Area Development Trust (BADT). The Trust is a local charity dedicated to restoring historic buildings and bringing back into community use. The Trust has also restored Bridport’s former library, the Literary and Scientific Institute on East Street. To learn more about the Trust, visit its website .
The former West Bay Methodist Chapel is known locally as “the Chapel on the Beach”. The Grade II listed building dates from 1849 and ceased as a place of worship in 2006. It subsequently reverted to the landowner, West Dorset District Council. The Council sought an alternative use, as no religious denomination wished to take it on. The freehold was transferred to the Trust in 2012. This was on the understanding that the building was to be used to provide visitor information about the history and environment of West Bay its surrounds.
The Trust obtained funding from the Coastal Communities Fund, which together with other grants enabled the restoration and adaption of the Chapel. The result was a fit for purpose home for the West Bay Discovery Centre, which opened on 1st August 2018.
The Discovery Centre provides an insight to West Bay and the Jurassic Coast through revealing its hidden history, local stories and offering fascinating facts about the natural environment.
We use interactive experiences to make learning about West Bay fun for all ages. Our challenge to our visitors is make your own discoveries, then come back and share them with us. We offer changing, themed exhibitions and aim to provide the latest local information. A programme of talks, guided walks, and events is also on offer.
Thanks to the Coastal Community Fund and the generous support of the organisations shown below, West Bay has a Visitor Centre it can be proud of. Our ongoing costs are met by donations and fundraising. So please do contact us if you can help the Centre by becoming a donor or volunteer – Thank you.
Winner GOLD in Dorset Tourism Award 2019 – ‘ New Business Category.’
Winner SILVER in South West Tourism Excellance Award 2019/2020 – ‘New Business Catgory.’