Infobox UK place
official_name= Bridport
shire_district= West Dorset
shire_county= Dorset
country= England
region= South West England
population= 12,977
os_grid_reference= SY464925
map_type= Dorset
latitude= 50.729
longitude= -2.758
post_town= BRIDPORT
postcode_area= DT
postcode_district= DT6
dial_code= 01308
constituency_westminster= West Dorset

static_image_caption=South Street, Bridport

Bridport is a town in Dorset, England. Located near the coast at the Western end of Chesil Beach at the confluence of the rivers Brit and Asker, it originally thrived as a fishing port and rope-making centre (the hangman's rope being made at Bridport gave birth to the saying "stabbed with a Bridport dagger"). The Port is no longer in existence although the harbour at West Bay is a mile away.

It has recently become the subject of articles where it has been nicknamed 'Notting Hill on Sea' [ [,,2015679,00.html Why everyone flocks to Notting Hill on Sea] The Observer, 18 February 2007 ] and is attracting large numbers of second home owners with all the attendant social problems that this creates. In 2006 West Dorset was named 10th best place to live in the UK. [ [ Best and Worst places to Live 2006] ] The town is twinned with Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, France.

According to the 2001 Census, the population of the Bridport stands at 12,977. One and a half miles from the town centre and within the town boundary lies West Bay, a small fishing harbour known as Bridport Harbour until the arrival of the railway. At that time it was "rebranded" to its current name to make it sound more attractive. West Bay was also the scene for the opening shot of "The Life and Times of Reginald Perrin" and the 1950s film of the "Navy Lark" was also shot there.



Bridport is composed of several small suburban districts, namely Allington, Skilling ,Coneygar, Bothenhampton, Bradpole, Court Orchard and St Andrews Well.

A number of these districts were formerly small surrounding villages which have gradually coalesced with Bridport's expanding urbanity over the years (see below). Bothenhampton in particular is still regarded by locals as a large separate village.

Surrounding Villages

Allington, Askerswell, Bothenhampton, Bradpole, Burton Bradstock, Chideock, Evershot, Eype, Loders, Powerstock, Pymore, Shipton Gorge, Skilling, Swyre, Symondsbury, Uploders, Walditch and West Bay


Bridport is situated on the world heritage Jurassic Coast and Chesil Beach. The loose clay cliffs in the area are abundant with fossils making the area popular with fossil hunters.

Industry and Commerce

It is home to some light industry prominently, Palmer's Brewery (JC & RH Palmer Ltd), a company which owns a percentage of the towns property under various alias, and which recently celebrated its bicentennial; AmSafe Bridport, successors to the old established firm of Bridport-Gundry; Curtiss Wright; Relyon Beds and Edwards Sports, the main survivors of the 750 year old rope and net making companies. Even to this day the goal nets of any major football championships are likely to be made in Bridport and also the tennis nets, wooden posts and umpire's chair at Wimbledon.

Bridport has a thriving commercial centre with a twice-weekly street market and monthly farmers' market [ [ Farmers' Markets in Dorset] BBC Dorset] .


Bridport has an Arts Centre, Cinema, Library and Museum.

New Year

The New Year is celebrated at Bucky Doo square next to the Town Hall in fancy dress. South Street closed to traffic and drinking is permitted on the streets as plastic glasses are issued by nearby pubs.

RNLI Raft Race

The raft race is held in July in the River Brit basin at West Bay. Participants build a 'floating vessel' and row it a few hundred yards up the River Brit before returning to the lake by the harbour sluice gates. The idea is to avoid sinking, capsizing or falling in.

Bridport Carnival

The town holds its annual carnival on the third Saturday in August. The main feature is a carnival parade of floats, walking acts and majorettes. Other attractions on the day include carnival darts, carnival golf, a grand car boot sale, carnival fete and a fun fair. After the carnival South Street is closed for the night as live music is played while people dance in the street. Bridport's fun fair is open till late which is situated on Asker Meadow a local nature reserve next to Morrisons supermarket.

A torchlight procession takes place the following night where 1,500 torches are carried 2 miles from the town centre to a bonfire at West Bay. This is followed by live music and fireworks. West Bay's fun fair opens till late. The annual events raise money for local good causes and organisations.

Melplash Show

On the Thursday before the August Bank Holiday weekend each year Bridport hosts the Melplash Show at the West Bay Showgrounds. One of Dorset's three biggest agricultural shows.

Guy Fawkes Night

The biggest public firework display is held at the Bridport Leisure Center and is organised by the Bridport Round Table. It is normally held on the nearest Saturday to the official night.


The main Honiton - Southampton road A35 passes around Bridport on a bypass, and the A3066 to Crewkerne, via Beaminster starts in Bridport. There is also a direct road to Weymouth, the B3157 also known as the coast road, this take you through the coastal villages of Burton Bradstock and Abbotsbury. The railway station in the town closed in 1975 (one of the last railway closures), and now the nearest stations are Maiden Newton, Crewkerne, Dorchester or Weymouth. There are regular buses to Weymouth and Axminster every hour weekdays, and the X53 Exeter - Bournemouth coastal service stops at the main bus station every two hours most weekdays with some extra services during the school summer holidays. There are a few buses a day to Crewkerne and Yeovil, and minor buses serving surrounding villages as well.

The nearest international airports are Exeter and Bournemouth.


Primary Schools

* Bridport Primary School
* St Mary's CE VC Primary School
* St Catherines R C Primary School

Secondary School

The Sir John Colfox School is Bridport’s only secondary school located on the outskirts of the town. Serving ages 11 to 18 it also has a combined sixth form with nearby Beaminster School. It is a specialist language college so offers opportunities for learning languages useful for travelling abroad. The school houses are Adler, Fleur de Lys, Hinomaru and Toro. The school was the first built with a Private Finance Initiative and is now operated by Jarvis. The head teacher is Kay Taylor.

Some parents choose to send their children either to Beaminster School, Woodroffe School, Colyton Grammar School or the Thomas Hardye School. There are daily buses running to these schools from Bridport.

Local Colleges and University

* Yeovil College
* Weymouth College
* Kingston Maurward College
* Bournemouth University


The town's football team is Bridport FC "The Bees". They currently play in the Western Football League division 1. The club was founded in 1885 and the home ground is St. Mary's Field.

The town's rugby union team is Bridport RFC.

Bridport & West Dorset Golf Club is situated atop of the east cliff at West Bay. The club has an 18 hole links course, driving range and pitch & putt course.

The area also hosts one of the last remaining real tennis courts that was recently renovated with the aid of a lottery grant.

Notable People

Local celebrities include singer PJ Harvey, actor Martin Clunes, Antiques Roadshow presenter Paul Atterbury and musician Billy Bragg. Former Plymouth Argyle and Torquay United footballer and manager Kevin Hodges was born in the town. Bridport and the surrounding area was used to film Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Channel 4 television programme "River Cottage" and also a BBC drama "Harbour Lights" staring Nick Berry.


Bridport has one main local newspaper, "The Bridport News" owned by Newsquest which is published weekly on a Thursday. There are also a number of free papers, one being "A view from Bridport". The Dorset Echo also serves Bridport which is published daily from Monday to Saturday.

Local television is served by BBC Spotlight and ITV Westcountry which are both based in Plymouth. Terrestrial television is transmitted in both analogue and digital from the Stockland Hill Transmitter but the main town is served by an analogue only relay transmitter based at Highlands End.

Bridport is a Met Office coastal weather observation point and such it is often included as a place name on the BBC national weather map.

The town's local commercial radio station is Wessex FM which broadcasts at 96.0FM. Owned by The Local Radio Company it also serves Weymouth and Dorchester. BBC local Radio includes both BBC Radio Devon and BBC Radio Solent.

Bridport lies between boundaries of broadcasters of the South and those of the South West. Viewers in Bridport are more likely to receive news about Devon and Cornwall than they are about East and North Dorset. To bridge the gap in the county the BBC proposed launching BBC Radio Dorset but this was soon dropped following BBC cut backs [ [ County station proposal dropped] BBC News, 18 October 2007] . The Dorset Broadcasting Action Group campaigns for better coverage in the area.


With the closure of Bridport's only nightclub, DeVinchies [ [ Sadness over plans to close nightclub] Dorset Echo, 17 December 2004] in 2005 saw the end of the night scene at Bridport for young people. The Royal Oak in West Street, owned by Palmer's Brewery was then converted to cater for a younger audience. The Royal Oak is now closed while it is being refurbished for an older crowd. This has left a big hole in Bridport's nightlife with lots of people travelling to Weymouth, Dorchester and Seaton to end their night in a club. Other venues have tried to bridge the gap. The opening of the Electric Palace Cinema in 2007 has brought opportunity for more late night entertainment. Its management is promoting gigs at least once a month and is also hosting daily films whose appeal is targeted towards younger people. There are occasional gigs at the nearby Bridport Arts Centre.

ee also

*Bridport FC
*Bridport Railway
*A35 Road
*Bridport (UK Parliament constituency)


External links

* [ Bridport Arts Centre]
* [ Bridport Census data]
* [ Bridport Cinema]
* [ Bridport Leisure Centre]
* [ Bridport Museum]
* [ Bridport News]
* [ Bridport Open Studios]
* [ Bridport Prize]
* [ Bridport Radio]
* [ Bridport Town Council]
* [ Bridport & West Dorset Golf Club]


* [ Welcome to Bridport, or Notting Hill on Sea] The Telegraph, 17 March 2007.
* [ Bridports reaction to Notting Hill on Sea references.] Bridport Radio 22 February 2007.
* [ Pint to pint pub guide: The George, Dorset] The Telegraph 13 October 2007.
* [ Pint to pint] The Telegraph 11 November 2007.
* [ Bridport: Notting Hill by Sea?] BBC Dorset
* [ The Bull Hotel] Guardian 7 October 2006.
* [ Kate Moss spotted dancing at Bridport nightspot] Dorset Echo 10 March 2008.
* [ Brits love to be beside the seaside] The Times, 29 April 2008.
* [ Postcode lottery: DT6] The Times, 2 May 2008.

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