West Bay Discovery Centre, pictured above, is owned and operated by Bridport Area Development Trust.
The former West Bay Methodist Chapel is known locally as “the Chapel on the Beach”. The Grade II listed building dates from 1849 and closed as a place of worship in 2006. The freehold was transferred to the Trust in 2012 by Bridport Town Council on the understanding that the building would to be used to provide visitors with information about the history and environment of West Bay and its environs.
The Trust received support from the Coastal Communities Fund, which, with other grants, financed the restoration of the former chapel, providing a purpose-built home for the Discovery Centre, which opened on 1st August, 2018.
The Centre provides an insight into West Bay and the Jurassic Coast, revealing its hidden history, local stories and offering fascinating facts about the natural environment.
Interactive experiences make learning about West Bay fun for all ages. Our challenge to visitors is to 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. There is also a programme of talks, guided walks and events.
Since it opened the Centre has attracted more than 90,000 visitors (to October 2023) and has won a number of local and national awards, including Dorset Tourism Gold Award, South West Tourism Excellence Silver Award and a Sustainable Tourism Bronze Award from Visit England.
The Discovery Centre is run by a part-time manager but is dependent on a team of around 40 enthusiastic volunteers who welcome visitors and help run the exhibitions and activities.
Interest from new volunteers is always welcome: please contact us via the “support us” tab on our website, the link is below, where you can also find out much more about the Centre, its displays and attractions.