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…

We are finally open!

West Bay Discovery Centre was opened by the Deputy Mayor Martin Ray accompanied by Bridport Town Crier on Wednesday 1st August 2018.

We look foward to your visit and hope we can inspire you to look at West Bay in new ways!


Do you love West Bay as much as we do?

One of the challenges in the Discovery Centre will be the limited information we can share in a small space. We are hoping that we will give visitors hints and advice to look at West Bay in a different way and make their own discoveries…..

Wildlife is one area we will be covering, and we just had to share with you the amazing display of oxeye daisies and red valerian alongside the path on West Cliff at the moment. The numbers of flowers just seem to increase each year!

It feels as if time is moving too fast at the moment, as we head closer to our opening day later in the summer. The building work is almost complete and so are plans for the interior. We are pleased to announce that we have now appointed Sandy Hashimi as our Discovery Manager.

We are now looking for Discovery volunteers to join us to engage with visitors and guide them in the exploration of the Discovery Centre and through it West Bay.

If you share our passion for West Bay and have a few hours to spare, we would love to hear from you.

Initially our greatest need will be for stewards but there are other opportunities, as can be seen on our dedicated Volunteer pages on this website.

For further information please contact us by emailing

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




Update April 2018

The building work on the West Bay Discovery Centre is progressing well and the plan to complete the building work by June is still on course. The latest images taken last week  show lots of scaffolding still in place. Once this has been removed the committee will at long last have a chance to see the impact that the works have had on the inside of the building.

In the meantime there has been a great deal of work on the designs for the interior and we have been very grateful for the help we have had from local residents in providing with additional information and stories about West Bay. There are so many wonderful stories and ideas to encourage further exploration, that it has been such a challenge to fit as much as we would like in the limited space!

We were delighted to be given £500 from West Bay Days, which will be used to finance the Fra Newbery shipyard print.  Over 350 vessels were produced in the shipyard between 1769 – 1879 but there are only a couple of images which show us what it actually looked like.

We have launched our campaign to recruit a manager for the Centre and the advert and role profile will shortly be on this site.


Update January 2018

Behind the scenes plans have been gathering momentum to restore West Bay’s former Methodist Church and transform it to become the West Bay Discovery Centre.

We are pleased to announce that after a formal tender process, R & C Building Conservation of Shaftesbury have been appointed as the contractor to deliver the construction-related part of the project. R & C Conservation have plenty of experience of historic and ecclesiastical buildings. They will be working closely with our Project Manager, Daryl Chambers and Architect Kim Sankey of Angel Architecture to repair and adapt the 170 year old chapel so that it will continue to be an iconic landmark feature in West Bay. Building work on the site is planned to commence in early February for 16 weeks.

At the same time we are working with Bristol-based designers Smith and Jones to create an exciting scheme for the interior of the Discovery Centre. It will provide a treasure trove of information for people to explore, both inside and outside the building.

With the structural repairs and the internal works complete, the Discovery Centre is scheduled to open to visitors in mid to late summer.


Once the centre is up and running it will be managed by a part-time paid coordinator but we will be reliant on volunteers to help engage with visitors and guide visitors in their exploration of the Discovery Centre and through it West Bay. We will be launching a recruitment drive for volunteers at the Bridport Community Fair on Saturday 3rd February at Bridport Town Hall. If you wish for further information please do come over and say hello.

September 2017 Update

If you have been recently enjoying the sea air, fish and chips or ice-creams down at West Bay you may have noticed that things are happening at West Bay Discovery Centre.


We have started some preliminary building work in order to prepare the interior of the building for refurbishment. We hope to carry out most of the work over the winter period. Alongside this we are using the consultation carried out during the summer to help shape our ideas for the stories and information that will feature in the design for the interior. As in any refurbishment it always looks worse before it gets better, at the moment it looks rather sad and forlorn.

Thank you to everyone who took part in our consultation process we held in the summer along with Dorset Coast Forum. The results are summarised in the chart below.

It is a challenge covering everything we would like to in a small space, but we are now focusing our efforts on developing all the subjects that were popular and exploring how they can be presented in a harmonious way.

Its been a productive summer we’ve met many people who’ve shared their stories and information with us, which could well risk being forgotten. West Bay has so much to offer. We have also been surveying local wildlife, for example, in a small area adjacent to the disused limekiln we found over twenty varieties of plant.

We will keep you informed on here about how the project progresses, especially now things are gaining momentum. If you are interested in getting involved, perhaps as a voluntary steward when the Centre is open, please do get in touch. Our email address is :

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.