- West Bay, Dorset
West Bay, formerly known as "Bridport Harbour", is situated approximately two miles from the centre of
Bridporton the Jurassic Coastin Dorset, England.
It has a fairly small
harbour, two piers and two beaches. The east beach is part of the Chesil Beach. West Bay and Chesil Beach make up part of the Jurassic Coast world heritage site, a title that has been much vaunted locally since it was conferred by UNESCOon the beautiful and varied geography of the southern coast.
Records of West Bay's harbour history can be traced back to the 13th Century when sluices were constructed across the mouth of the River Brit to form a navigable entrance. The
Great Western Railwayreached Bridport in 1857, resulting in the decline of Bridport Harbour and its renaming as West Bay. Local business men including the archaeologist Augustus Pitt Riversand the Earl of Ilchesterfunded an extension to the harbour, which was completed by 1883. Subsequently they established the West Bay Building Company to build villas and lodging houses for visitors. Only a terrace of 10 lodging houses was completed, designed by the Arts and Crafts Movementarchitect Edward Schroeder Priorin 1885. The terrace remains a prominent feature of the harbourside.
Construction work has recently finished to replace the west pier and rebuild the east pier. The new west pier has been named the
Jurassic Pier. This is part of a new coastal defensescheme and also extends the facilities of the harbour with a new slip way and outer harbour. After the construction work, a small regeneration scheme is in operation, with new housing being planned around the harbour area.
This is due to the rough weather during the winter, with a high tide coinciding with westerly gales and high rainfall causing, in 1974, the entire bay area to flood.West Bay was also the location of a
televisionseries by the BBCcalled Harbour Lights, which aired in 1999 and 2000 and starred Nick Berry. In addition, the beach was used in the introduction to the BBCtelevision series The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.
There is also the Bridport and West Dorset
GolfClub situated on top of the east cliff (in the photograph) just a short walk from West Bay with a full 18-hole course and 9-hole "pitch and putt" course in the summer season.
There are lots of fishing trips available in the summer, including deep sea fishing. Boats can also be hired to row up the River Brit towards Bridport.
The bay has a number of kiosks, serving traditional
fish and chips, often with locally caught fish. There are also a few pubs, cafés, and restaurants, the most notable of which is the Riverside Restaurant, which has been voted one of The Observer's Top 10 SeafoodRestaurants.
List of Dorset beaches
West Bay, Dorset railway station
* [http://www.bridportandwestbay.co.uk/ West Bay Website]
* [http://www.bridportgolfclub.org.uk/ West Bay Golf Club website]
* [http://thefishrestaurant-westbay.co.uk/ The Riverside Restaurant] Rated in the 'Top 5' of Britain's top seafood restaurants
* [http://www.europanoramas.eu/west-bay-pier.htm A 360 degree 'virtual reality' panoramic view of the new harbour at West Bay]
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