West Bay Discovery Centre, West Bay, Bridport, DT6 4EN.

History of West Bay Discovery Centre

Who runs West Bay Discovery Centre?

West Bay Discovery Centre is owned and operated by a local charity, the Bridport Area Development Trust   (Registered Charity no 1137231). BADT was created in 2009 to help restore and revitalise historic buildings in Bridport and the neighbouring Area. The Trust has also restored Bridport’s former library, the Literary and Scientific Institute on East Street. 

West Bay Methodist Chapel

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.   The freehold was transferred to the Trust in 2012 by the local council on the understanding that the building was to be used to provide visitor information about the history and environment of West Bay and its surrounds.

When was West Bay Discovery Centre created?

The Trust secured funding from the Coastal Communities Fund in April 2017, 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.

Our mission is to grow people’s appreciation of West Bay and the Jurassic Coast using the unique stories that tell its history, hidden heritage and natural environment, so that our visitors will reflect, return and reconnect with us, again and again. We will do this by offering a “treasure trove” of stories, information and activities, with something for all ages and interests.

Thanks to the Coastal Community Fund and the generous support of the organisations shown below who made this possible.

Listen to this interview with Steve Harris from BBC Radio Solent

Our Funders for the redevelopment

West Bay Discovery Centre has a part-time manager and a group of  dedicated volunteers. We receive just 15% of our running costs from public funding. Every year we need to raise the remaining 85% from a combination of fundraising, shop sales and donations.

A multi award winning Visitor Centre

West Bay Discovery Centre Tourism Awards

We are delighted to have received the following awards since we opened:

  • Gold in New Business Award – Dorset Tourism Award 2019.
  • Silver in New Business Award – South West Tourism Award 2019.
  • Silver in Accessible and Inclusive Tourism – Dorset Tourism Award 2020
  • Highly Commended in Small Visitor Attraction – Dorset Tourism Award 2020
  • Litter Free Business Award – Litter Free Dorset Coast & Sea

  • Gold in Visitor Information Services – Dorset Tourism Award 2021/22
  • Gold in Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable – Dorset Tourism Awards 2021/22
  • Bronze in Small Visitor Attraction – Dorset Tourism Awards 2021/22
  • Winner of Winners 2021/22 – Dorset Tourism Awards 2021/22
  • Gold in Ethical , Responsible & Sustainable – South West Tourism Awards 2021/22
  • Bronze in Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Awards – Visit England 2022
  • Level 4 in Sustainable * Business Awards- Litter Free Dorset Land Coast & Sea 2023
  • Eco Green Business Award – Bridport Business Award 2023