West Bay Harbour - PHOTOGRAPHER COMMENT
This is the harbour at West Bay in Dorset, originally known as Bridport Harbour, viewed from the new Jurassic Pier.
The ship is the historic passenger steamer Balmoral, built in Southampton in 1949 and now fully restored, it carries up to 750 passengers all around the UK. On this day, 1st June 2006, it is about to embark on its first ever sailing from West Bay, following Dorset's famous Jurassic Coastline along Chesil Beach and around Portland Bill to Weymouth, Bournemouth, and the Isle of Wight.
For more 360° panoramas of Dorset please visit www.europanoramas.eu
West Bay Harbour - FURTHER INFORMATION
West Bay Harbour - Bridport visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'West Bay Harbour' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Dorset.
Panorama of the harbour at West Bay in West Dorset. West Bay was formerly known as Bridport Harbour and lies about 2 miles south of Bridport town itself, on the western end of Chesil Beach. In 2001 UNESCO declared the coastline on which West Bay sits to be a World Heritage Site, and in 2002 West Bay was officially declared to be the gateway to the Jurassic Coast. Both these highly coveted titles appear to have done more for tourism than for preservation of the area. There has been a sharp increase in the amount of tourist trade along the South Coast of England since 2001.
The harbour at West Bay is quite small with two piers. Records indicate that sluices were built across the River Brit at West Bay in the 13th Century. The port continued to grow until the arrival of the Great Western Railway reached Bridport in 1857. After this time the fortunes of Bridport Harbour went into decline, and have recently been revived by the influx of tourism, especially during the British summer holiday season. It was at this time that the area was renamed West Bay. Tourism started in the late 1800's and one set of terraced guest houses from this period still remains as a backdrop to the harbour.
Recent refurbishments have included the construction of a new West Pier for the harbour, named 'The Jurassic Pier', which opened in December 2004. This £17 million project incorporated the combined needs of both sea defense and tourist attraction producing a 240m long pier with recessed and up-lighting. This, combined with the reconstruction of the East Pier, has led to a realignment of the harbour entrance.
Behind the ship called the Balmoral in this panoramic photograph you can see the East Cliff which is also the location of the Bridport and West Dorset Golf Club. Beyond this cliff is Chesil Beach, a stone beach that stretches along the coastline to Portland Bill. To the west of the harbour is West Cliff, or Watton Cliff, which has much of the local town built upon it's slopes. Further to the west is the lovely seaside town of Lyme Regis, and the famous Cobb Harbour. West Bay continues to function as an active port and marina, with plenty of sailing, boating and diving trips being run from it. There are also river cruises available from the harbour up the River Brit to Bridport itself.