West Bay Discovery Centre is owned by the Bridport Area Development Trust (BADT), a local charity dedicated to the restoration and reuse of historic buildings. BADT also owns and is restoring Bridport’s former library, the Literary and Scientific Institute on East Street. To learn more about the Trust’s activities, visit its website here.
The former West Bay Methodist Chapel, dating from 1849 is a building with an atmosphere of peace and reflection. The Grade II Listed building, known locally as the Chapel on the Beach, stopped being used as a Place of Worship in 2006. It reverted to the landowner, West Dorset District Council, which sought an alternative use, since no religious denomination could be found to take it on. The freehold of the building was transferred to the BADT in July 2012 on the understanding that it would be used to provide information to visitors about the history and environment of West Bay and the surrounding area.
We obtained funding from the Coastal Communities Fund in 2017 and this together with other grants and monies raised enabled the building to be restored and adapted to be fit for purpose as the home of West Bay Discovery Centre, which opened on 1st August 2018.
We want to grow people’s appreciation of West Bay and the Jurassic Coast using the unique stories that tell it’s history, hidden heritage and natural environment. Our aim is that our visitors will reflect, return and reconnect with us, again and again.
West Bay Discovery Centre provides interactive experiences for all ages, enabling people to learn about West Bay in a fun way. We’ll send visitors out to explore and discover the surrounding built and natural environment. Challenging them to make their own discoveries and bring them back to the Centre to learn more. Our future plans include guided walks, and trails, treasure hunts and challenges.
The Discovery Centre will also be a hub for information, knowledge and exploratory learning. It will act as a classroom base for local schools, youth groups and visiting university students. We will use the Centre flexibly to accommodate changing information and “pop up exhibitions.”The funding for the running costs will come from donations and fundraising. Please contact us if you can help us by becoming a volunteer or donor. Thank you.
Our friendly team consists of a Discovery Manager and a group of dedicated volunteers who are always on-hand and willing to help with any questions.
Thanks to the Coastal Community Fund and the generous support of the organisations listed below we now have a Centre that West Bay can be proud of.