Bridport and West Bay

The harbour settlement of West Bay
The harbour settlement of West Bay. Photo: Steve Belasco.

Bridport is a small market town in West Dorset which lies around two miles inland from West Bay. The town has a world-renowned rope and net making industry – and hence some of the widest streets in the country. Lively street markets have been held there for over 400 years and still take place every Wednesday and Saturday.

Bridport Museum tells the story of the town, from Roman times through to the present day. The Museum also features a Jurassic Coast Gallery, containing fossils found on the nearby stretch of coastline and the partial skeleton of a Pliosaur discovered at Golden Cap in 2004.

The pretty harbour village of West Bay, once known as Bridport Harbour, lies at the mouth of the River Brit. The seafront has two piers and is lined with old cottages, characterful kiosks and an early 19th-centuary customs house. Until the mid-19th century, the main trade was exporting Bridport’s ropes and nets.

The golden strata of nearby East Cliff are one of the most distinctive features of the Jurassic Coast, and the area is very popular with walkers. East Beach has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and forms one end of Chesil Beach, which extends 18 miles south east to the Isle of Portland. The cliffs here are very unstable, so it’s important to keep well clear of the cliff edges and bases.

The beach at West Bay
The beach at West Bay. Photo: Mark Simons

Getting there

  • The Jurassic Coaster bus service runs through Bridport and West Bay.
  • The nearest railway stations are at Axminster to the west and Dorchester to the east. The Jurassic Coaster X51 connects Bridport with both towns.
  • By road, Bridport and West Bay are signposted from the A35.

Need to know

In recent years, West Bay has become best known as the setting for the popular TV drama Broadchurch. The spectacular cliffs have become a familiar backdrop for the series, and it’s even possible to take a Broadchurch-themed guided walk.