August 2018 -our first month open

What an amazing month we have had since we opened! We welcomed 3,880 visitors through the doors which exceeded our expectations. We have also received some very positive feedback verbally and in our visitors book!

We thought we would share some of these comments with you.

“Fabulous exhibition , fun, informative. Great stuff brilliant, great for young and old.”

” Brilliant use if this space very interesting and informative.”

“Fantastic display , wonderful idea loved that there is lots to play with.”

“Wonderful to see the old building put to such good use. Imaginative and informative. Loved the historic pictures of West Bay and the videos.”

“Very interesting history of West Bay and West Dorset. They have done a good job. well done!”

“What an amazing place to enjoy as children and adults. Well thought out, thank you.”

“Very interesting and great ‘hands on’ for children. Amazing stories from residents of the area too,very enjoyable.”

“Good interactive display for children. Really interesting and informative, brilliantly laid out.”

“Lovely centre of local interest and good to see chapel put to such good use.”

“Amazing look at the past, staff very welcoming and friendly.”

“This all wouldn’t have been made possible without our excellent part time manager and the volunteers who have so generously given up their time to help us.”

If you haven’t had a chance to visit us yet do come and see us!

We are now in the process of planning future exhibitions and content more details soon…

Discovery Manager

“A treasure trove of West Bay stories and information and a base for exploration and adventure”… Have you got what it takes to breathe life into our vision for the brand new West Bay Discovery Centre?

We’re looking for a well-organised, creative and enthusiastic person to join us to run the new West Bay Discovery Centre. While experience in a similar role could be an advantage, what we’re really looking for is a person with strong and confident management skills, experience of nurturing and motivating volunteers and the ability to communicate exceptionally well with all different sorts of people.

Friendly and engaging, you will be confident at problem-solving and happy being hands-on.  You’ll have a good grasp of marketing and fundraising and be able to demonstrate an aptitude for planning our events and activities programme, drawing upon the talents and passion of those around you.  Computer skills will be important, as well as basics like health and safety and cash handling.

No two days will be the same and that’s when your time management skills will come into play, as well as your ability to focus on what matters and to manage you and your volunteer team’s, energy and motivation.

Above all, you will share our passion for West Bay and will be as excited as we are about the enormous potential of the Discovery Centre.

This role is for an initial four month fixed-term period, pending funding confirmation, subject to which, we expect it to become permanent.

26 hours per week, which may include weekend and bank holiday working. pro-rata to £20,000 per annum. Based in West Bay but with an expectation of some travel locally, so use of your own car would be an advantage.

Find out more about the West Bay Discovery Centre here and our Facebook page. If you require any further information please contact

To apply, please send a copy of your CV and a covering letter to explaining how your skills and experience match those we are looking for.

Deadline for applications 6 pm Monday 14th May.

Interviews will be held in Bridport on 24 May 2018

For job specification and role profile




Events taking place at West Bay Discovery Centre – Summer 2017

One of the many aims of the Discovery Centre will be to tell the stories of past events and stories of West Bay.

This year marks the 75th Anniversary of  Exercise Yukon which took place in West Bay in 1942.

In 1942 there were plans to launch an attack on Dieppe.  It was essential that prior to this, there was a rehearsal to test out the equipment and personnel.  The coastal landscape at West Bay was similar to Dieppe with high cliffs and long beaches and was therefore chosen as the location for Exercise Yukon.  Over 4,000 troops and 58 tanks landed at different points along the coast but the first attempt on June 11 – June 12 was such a disaster that it had to be repeated a few weeks later on June 22- June 23.  The Methodist Church that is now home to the Discovery Centre was hit by flares and so badly damaged that it was shut for the remainder of the Second World War.

The Dieppe Raid involved British and Canadian troops and took place on 19th August 1942.  It was unfortunately a disaster for the attackers – out of the 6,000 troops that landed, 4,000 were either killed, injured, or taken prisoner.  It is believed that many lessons were learnt from this dreadful carnage that helped in the planning of D-Day two years later.



We are combining with Bridport Heritage Forum and St John’s Church to remember these events and to help raise funds for a permanent memorial in St John’s Church to remember those who died at Dieppe.  The following events will take place:-

Friday 9th June “It’s all right!  It’s not the enemy!  Talk by Sheila Meaney from Bridport Heritage Forum at St John’s Church, West Bay 7:15 for 7:30. Donations in aid of memorial plaque to be placed in St John’s Church to commemorate those who died in the Dieppe Raid in August 1942 are welcome. (The rehearsals for the Dieppe Raid – Exercise Yukon – was held on the shores and cliffs of the coastline around West Bay in June 1942.)  The Dieppe Raid failed with many lives lost but vital lessons were learnt for the successful D-Day landings that took place two years later.

Sunday 11th June – Monday 12th June 2017 Exhibition showing the role West Bay played in the Dieppe Raid of 1942  in West Bay Discovery Centre, 11am-3pm.  Admission free – donations welcome.  

Friday 23rd June 2017 Exhibition showing the role West Bay played in the Dieppe Raid of 1942  in West Bay Discovery Centre, 11am-3pm.  Admission free – donations welcome.

Sunday 20th August 2017 Morning Service at 11am at St John’s Church to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Dieppe followed by walk to the Pier with Standards.  The Discovery Centre will also be open from 12pm-4pm.

Tourist information for West Bay

Please note that the West Bay Visitor/Discovery Centre building and the associated telephone number for the Bridport Area Development Trust is NOT the West Bay Tourist Information Centre (TIC). There is no dedicated TIC in West Bay at present. The telephone number for the Bridport TIC is 01308 424901 with tourist information for Bridport and West Bay also available on these websites:

Discovery Centre lands Lottery Award!

We’ve heard today the exciting news that our bid for funding from the Coastal Communities Lottery Fund has been successful. We’ve been awarded the funds we bid for, to restore the Chapel and adapt it into a Discovery Centre that will tell the story of West Bay, its harbour and history and inspire people to explore all that West Bay has to offer.

The bid was submitted last December following a lot of hard work and with the support of Bridport Town Council and several other local partners. We can now start work on making our plans a reality.

Bridport Area Development Trust.

January 2017 Update

It’s been a while since our last update due to a huge amount of time being spent at the latter end of the year completing and revising our plan for the Coastal Community Fund bid that went in at the end of December. After that a break from the computer was well needed!

So what is happening in the Discovery Centre in 2017?

There are many other organisations that have applied for funding from the Coastal Community Fund and they will announce who has been successful in the Spring. If we are lucky enough to be chosen, work on the Discovery Centre will start in September at the earliest.

In the meantime we will be experimenting by running a few short term displays or events that will link into the history or landscape of West Bay and will allow us to discover what subjects are of particular interest to the public. Announcements will be made as soon as plans are finalised.

October 2016 Update

Wchapel-and-boate were delighted to hear this week that our bid for the funds for the Coastal Communities (Big Lottery) has passed Stage one. All the bids that have now gone through to Stage two will require a more detailed application. So we’re expecting a lot of hard work over the next few months to put together Stage two with our colleagues in the Bridport & West Bay Coastal Communities Team. We then hope that this project will  be one of the projects that is selected for funding.

You may also notice that we have a new blue boat seat outside the Chapel.  Many thanks go the Sea Cadets  who donated it, and also to Richard Toft and Force 8, who transformed it and made it possible.


July 2016 Update

Over the last few months the steering group have been busy in producing a business case and a development bid and not least, creating a vision for the Centre.  We want to create a modern and welcoming space that also captures the essence of the historic and atmospheric community building. It will be a living repository for knowledge about West Bay.  We want people to discover what West Bay has to offer – and then go out and explore it. The vision has made us rethink our name to ‘West Bay Discovery Centre’  which describes more what we are aiming to achieve. There is so much here to offer, from the history, the picturesque harbour , it’s location of Jurassic Coast and the wildlife on land and sea.

An application has been submitted to Coastal Communities Fund for £150,000. Many other organisations  along the coast will also be applying to this fund. We will find out in August whether we will be taken forward to the second  round, we are keeping our fingers crossed!

On Frichapel open day 2day 15th July we ran a very successful open day, inviting members of the public to visit the chapel and find out more about our plans to turn it into a Discovery Centre for West Bay. Despite the drizzle outside, 60 people came through the doors. We were delighted that one of the visitors had worshiped here and  attended the very last service that was held in the Chapel. It was wonderful  to talk to so many people and receive positive comments and interest.

During the summer holidays a local artist collective called Force 8 will running a programme of events from 23rd July – 4th September. They are aiming to explore people’s holiday experience by bringing together ideas, knowledge, holiday snaps and stories. They will be also running children’s activities, and a series of evening talks- for the full programme visit their website


April 2016 Update

As mentioned last month work has continued inside the chapel to enable us to allow public access to the building. Thanks to work by Bridport Town Council the floor boards have now been made secure, and the walls have been retouched.  We have also treated the remaining pews for woodworm. As you can see it is now looking very clean and smart inside.

chapel april 2

The first draft of a business plan has been produced and additional details are now being added. Although we are unable to open the chapel as a functioning Visitor Centre until we have secured the substantial additional funding required for full renovation and adaption, there is a possible opportunity of it being used over the summer period – more details soon hopefully.

chapel april

Trevor Ware of the Bridport Area Development Trust will be addressing the West Bay Community Forum as guest speaker at their AGM on Thursday 7th April, 2016 at the Salthouse West Bay (meeting starts at 7.30pm). He will explain the challenges that the Visitor Centre project faces and will be hoping to enlist the help and support of local people. Members of the public are welcome to attend too.