Jurassic Coast Communities to Benefit from Dorset Coastal Connections Project

The Dorset Coastal Community Team (DCCT), led by the Dorset Coast Forum, have been awarded £5.6 million to deliver the Dorset Coastal Connections – People and Places project. The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site is set to benefit from a couple of key projects planned for Lulworth’s Fossil Forest and West Bay.

The Fossil Forest
The Fossil Forest. Photo: Ben Osborne

Jurassic Coast and Dorset AONB Visitor, Tourism and Access Manager Manager Sally King explains:

“The Jurassic Coast Team are leading on two initiatives within the People and Places project. The Fossil Forest is a geological gem within the World Heritage Site and has been closed to the public for over a year due to a rockfall. This funding will allow us to reinstate the access and improve the interpretation of the site, including information pertaining to safety.”

West Bay Orientation Hub - Planned Location
The planned site of the West Bay Visitor Hub.

The West Bay Visitor Hub will enhance an existing space opposite the main harbour, and re-landscape it to create an attractive space, with interpretation which will signpost people to the town’s many features, including the planned new West Bay Discovery Centre.

We are absolutely thrilled that the Dorset Coast Forum have been successful in securing this funding, and we are really excited to be working with the local communities on these two fantastic projects.”

Working in partnership, the Dorset Coastal Connections – People and Places project was put together in response to work carried out to develop a DCCT economic plan for the Dorset coast, which identified four key themes:

  • Sustaining and developing the tourism economy
  • Having thriving and dynamic coastal and maritime businesses to encourage economic growth
  • Connecting the urban, rural and coastal communities across the Dorset coast
  • Conserving, enhancing and promoting Dorset’s special natural and cultural assets

During 2016, workshops were held to look at collaborative ways of implementing the plan.  From this work a portfolio project was developed and submitted to the Coastal Community Fund.

Dorset Coastal Connections is comprised of 18 coordinated projects between Christchurch & Lyme Regis with a goal of connecting people to the coast, connecting coastal communities to each other & connecting the Dorset coast to the ‘wider world’. Enhanced access and public spaces will be created through creative and innovative approaches using arts and technology.

The ‘chain’ of projects comes under one umbrella, yet each project will be developed and delivered to suit the individual needs of the local area.  Each project will work with their own communities to ensure they fit with the local culture and heritage.  The projects will also connect with one another, with community and stakeholder engagement and artist input being an essential ingredient across all locations.

More information about the various projects contained under the People and Places umbrella, and the positive impact it will have on the Jurassic Coast, will emerge in the coming months. For now, you can read more about the planned projects at the Dorset for You website.