West Bay Flood Defence Work

West Bay Flood Defence Work

West Bay has a history of flooding. It is something we became aware of when we were buying our cottage and needed to set up home insurance. Since then we have had several anxious times after our phones have bleeped with a message from the Flood Information Service to tell us that there is a flood warning in place for the harbour and to expect flooding imminently. Fortunately every time it has been a false alarm. The worst we have known was one Friday evening back in 2014 when they even evacuated the flats behind The Esplanade (see picture above).  So good news when the Environment Agency teamed up with West Dorset District Council and agreed to install new sea defences at both beaches.

The West Bay Coastal Improvement (WBCI) scheme

To find out more about the scheme please read here.

Unfortunately for West Bay residents and visitors it wasn’t feasible to do the construction work in the winter months, but the groups involved with the scheme reassured that they would do “everything practically possible to minimise public loss of enjoyment of West Bay’s wonderful beaches” and every effort would be taken “to minimise disruption, noise and dust”.  Hmm, the work is very much underway now and my cleaner has just told me that it is very difficult keeping on top of dust at the moment, cars look like they have been on a desert drive! She says it feels like an earthquake when they drop the rocks on the beach. It all sounds rather interesting if you like that sort of thing but we are very sorry if your holiday in West Bay isn’t quite as relaxing or dust-free as it usually would be.

The work is set to be complete in early July (and they have said they will stop until September even if it isn’t) apart from a couple of things. A new boardwalk at the far end of East Beach is being built in September to help accessibility and improvements are going to be made to the River Brit bank (the caravan park side) over the winter period.

Easter Update 2019

Going up the stairs now...

We had the chance to spend a very long weekend in the cottage at the start of the Easter holidays. A working holiday so to speak as we had a few jobs to get on with. Here’s a quick update.

#shelfieWe put up a new shelf in the kitchen. In the New Year I’d spent a good many hours sanding and waxing an old scaffold plank and deciding which shelf brackets to buy. More fun was deciding what to put on it. Moving the mugs and tea and coffee things to it makes it much more practical when making a cuppa. Do you like the lucky barn star? I couldn’t resist the “Captain” egg timer I saw in a vintage shop too.

Vintage mirrorThe double bedroom got a new mirror. Actually quite an old one, an eBay find that needed a home after my plan for a vintage mirror wall was not met with the same enthusiasm as my own by a certain member of the family.

Oh dear, our wooden table had bad stains on it, we suspect from red wine. Luckily we’d bought an electric sander with us (a Christmas present so I could do my shelf!). So that was sanded and it and the kitchen worktop got an oil too. So did the door step.

The front door got a bit of TLC and a fresh coat of paint.

Graham has the mucky job of jet washing the back paving stones while I had a go cleaning the windows. It was one of the times I’m glad it is only a little cottage!

Big nail!

West Bay Discovery Centre

I popped into the Discovery Centre with a rusty nail. Sarah, one of the volunteers there, had read my blog (hurrah) and wondered if we would be willing to lend the huge nail I’d dug up last summer. During this summer the Discovery Centre is having an exhibition about ‘Shipbuilding in West Bay’. This year marks 240 years since the shipyard was opened. Obviously we would (I was just glad it hadn’t been thrown away). Our nail is going to be displayed in one of the glass cases!

The Cornish Bakery

Eating

We didn’t investigate different places to eat this time but did revisit some of our tried and tested favourites. Luckily when we arrived on Friday evening the Seasider was still open. I’m glad to report their fish and chips are still very good. We found The Cornish Bakery a very handy place to have around the corner when you are busy doing things and don’t want to “down tools” for too long. I can’t resist one of their custard tarts every time I go there. And we met some friends who live in Exeter and had a very nice evening at The River Cottage Kitchen in Axminster. Tasty food and a relaxed atmosphere.The deli looked appealing too but sadly we were off the next morning so had no excuse to food shop.

And that was it for us. Hope you had a lovely Easter break too and didn’t eat too much chocolate? Our daughter got a lot and I think it is calling to me from the kitchen!

West Bay Beach Cleaning

Octopus on West Bay beach

Be part of the growing number of volunteers helping clean our beaches. Removing harmful plastics, bits of old fishing gear and all the other rubbish from our beaches is one of the most direct and rewarding ways to fight ocean plastic pollution and protect marine wildlife. Pick up a piece of plastic and you ensure no fish or other marine animal can ever mistake it for food. Bin an old fishing line, rope or net before a seal or seabird gets tangled in it. Plus you get to help make the beaches more beautiful for everyone too.

West Bay Beach Clean Group

West Bay has a Beach Clean Group which runs regular beach cleans. We took part in one a while back. We scoured West Beach, filling a bin bag with a motley collection of bottles, bottle tops, plastic straws, bits of lost fishing gear, wrappers, tin cans and the like. Much of it was single-use plastic used to contain food and drink.

Visitors are very welcome to join in a beach clean. For info, places, dates and times see here.

Bio-Beads Plastic Pollution

West Bay Plastic PollutionOver the last year or so the West Bay Beach Clean Group has become particularly concerned about the numbers of tiny plastic pellets found washed up on the beaches during beach cleans. They found some nurdles, the raw material from which nearly all our plastic goods are made. They also found many bio-beads. These are a type of bead used in their billions in the treatment of waste water. They are only about 3.5mm diameter and so are quite hard to spot. Birds, fish and other marine animals often mistake them, and other small bits of plastic, for food. This can be fatal for the wildlife if the beads block their digestive system. Some of the bio-beads contain significant levels of toxins which again poses a risk to health.

Both Exmouth and Uplyme water treatment plants, run by South West Water, use billions of bio-beads to filter waste. The result is cleaner bathing water in the South West but the issue is when they escape. The company admit to a couple of major spillages in the past, including one in Cornwall ten years ago which spilled billion of the pellets into the sea. They say that they have taken steps, and continue to do so, to prevent beads escaping from their works. Sadly it does nothing to remedy the huge numbers out in the environment already.

This photo is taken from the West Bay Discovery Centre centre website here. It shows their collection of nurdles and bio-beads collected from West Bay Beach Clean sessions by the public.

#2minutebeachclean

#2minutebeachclean logoYou don’t need to wait for an organised beach clean to help keep the beaches cleaner. Writer, surfer and TV presenter Martin Dorey came up with the #2minutebeachclean concept, the idea to encourage people to spend just two minutes at a time picking up litter. A growing number of beach lovers are now helping rid the world’s beaches of marine litter and plastic pollution, two minutes at a time.

There is a network of over 500 Beach Clean Stations around the UK and Ireland. These are boards near beaches where you will find information, pickers and bags. They are proving really popular. A trial of a station at Bude in Cornwall found the amount of litter on the beach dropped by 60% within a year. West Bay has one.

The next time you are on the beach why not get involved and do your bit to help with ocean conservation? After all, it only takes a few minutes. You can take a picture of your marine litter haul on your phone and post it to Twitter or Instagram. Just hashtag your photos #2minutebeachclean #dorset.

West Bay Discovery Centre

Methodist Chapel

The West Bay Discovery Centre was officially opened last week. It’s in the old Methodist chapel, situated on the left as you walk towards the Watch House cafe on East beach. The photo above shows it before all the exciting plans came to fruition. The aim of the centre is to bring West Bay and the Jurassic Coast to life with stories that tell of it’s history, hidden heritage and natural environment.

Here’s a link to a local lady’s blog post about all the hard work required to get to the opening.

Earlier this year I spent a while reading about West Bay and wrote a brief (ish) post myself about the history so I’m really looking forward to visiting the centre next time I’m there. I hope that the information in my post bears a resemblance to that in the centre! I’m sure I’ll find out a lot of new things too.

The centre is free to enter but it is a charity and relies on donations to keep it going. It will be open this year until October, every Tuesday to Sunday between 11am and 4pm.

If you want to visit the West Bay Discovery Centre but haven’t yet booked accommodation, then we’d love to welcome you to West Bay Cottage. Take a look inside the cottage here if you wish. Head to our Book With Us page for availability, the rates and how to book.

Midsummer Visit (2018)

Harbour early evening

Another quick visit to the cottage last week. Lucky for me to be able to visit in midsummer with such sunny weather. It felt a little too hot for one of my tasks though… steam cleaning the stone floor. On my last visit I planted some annuals in the back garden to add a bit of colour. I was keen to see how they were doing. Oh dear, they were all shrivelled and the only colour they were adding was brown! Victims of the amazing weather we’ve had so far this summer. Let’s hope it continues into the school holidays.

I went for a wander around the harbour early evening. There was a holiday atmosphere about the place. This was perhaps helped by the fact that England had already qualified for the next round of the World Cup so we didn’t have to agonise over the final group match! It was so warm that people were still in the sea. Of course the water wasn’t warm when I dipped my toe in (frankly it was cold).

Padding at West Beach, West Bay

My other photo here (below) is of my favourite house by the harbour. Look at the lookout and the weather vane on the roof, and the ship’s wheel on the front. It makes me think of the film Mary Poppins. We just need an old admiral character firing a cannon twice a day!

The Moorings, West Bay

A Weekend In West Bay

West Bay Cod & Chips

I was mulling over writing a post with ideas of how to make the most of a weekend in West Bay. A rough plan of where to go and what to do with a bit of a timetable too. Then I came across one that someone had made earlier. I like it. It suggests roughly the same things that I would. There’s lots more that I’d like to try to squeeze in but realistically it’s a good itinerary if you only have two days. I mean the weekend is meant to be enjoyable, not a mad race against the clock. The post has also got a nice little film, which is more than you’d get from one of mine. So rather than write my own post this time I thought I’d share this one with you: Click here.

Thanks to Claire, the owner of the blog. That’s a photo from the post at the top here (picture copyright Weekend Candy).

It almost goes without saying that our cottage is perfect for a West Bay weekend. By arriving on a Friday it means you wake up on Saturday ready for action. This is great as you really should visit Bridport Saturday morning / early afternoon with the market in full swing and Bucky Doo Square at it’s liveliest.

Read about 10 of our favourite things to do locally here.

Thinking of a weekend break in West Bay? We’d love to welcome you to West Bay Cottage. Please take a look inside the cottage or head to our Enquire and Book page for availability, the rates and how to book.