West Bay Beaches
West Bay exceeds the highest water quality requirements of the
Marine Conservation Society and features in the Good Beach Guide
East Beach consists of a very fine shingle ridged beach with sand at the water’s edge. The beach extends as far as the eye can see along the Chesil Beach to Portland Bill.
West Beach consists of a fine, smooth, pebbly beach, with shingle and sand at the water’s edge. It is ideal for younger children due to a protective cove being formed between the harbour’s Jurassic Pier and the Esplanade’s rock armour groynes.
• Beach Cleanliness
West Bay features in the Good Beach Guide as achieving the highest award for sea water quality. The Environment Agency sample water purity on West Beach only, as prevailing sea currents would drive any impurities in that direction. Therefore, although East Beach is not listed for water quality, it should achieve as good, or better results to that of West Beach. Although both beaches are cleaned regularly by West Dorset District Council, please dispose of your litter sociably.
• Car Parking
There is ample car parking, either behind east beach, by the south-eastern edge of the harbour (Bridport Arms), along the Esplanade of west beach or on the Mound. A large and usually under-used car park also exists to the left of the mini roundabout as you enter the village. Here, the long stay parking charges are very low and it’s less than five minutes’ walk to east beach and the harbour.
Public toilets are available behind the shingle ridge of east beach, at the main car park to the left of the mini roundabout when entering the town and also at the south-western corner of the inner harbour, behind the Harbour Master's office on the Mound. Baby changing facilities are provided. There are also disabled toilets, accessed by a radar key. If you don’t have a key, registered disabled can apply for their own key through their local health authority.
Note that dogs are not permitted on East Beach and West Beach between 1st May and 30th September. However, they are permitted on the East Cliff Beach area and West Cliff Beach at all times but must be kept under reasonable control and not become a nuisance to other beach users. Access is by the path alongside East Cliff or down steps from the Promenade to West Cliff Beach. The whole of West Bay also operates a clean zone, regularly patrolled by wardens. Dog owners who do not clean up can face fines of up to £1,000. Bins are provided.
• Guide & Assistance Dogs
Guide and assistance dogs are exempt from the above restriction, i.e. they are permitted on all West Bay and West Dorset Beaches. However, these dogs must carry appropriately marked harnesses / coats to identify them as such.
• Launching Small Craft
It is permissible to launch small non-motorised craft from the beaches. These include kayaks, canoes, rowing and sailing dinghies that can be easily manhandled across the beach without a trailer. All motorised craft, including jet skis, should not be launched from the beaches.
An RNLI Lifeguard Beach Patrol Service operates during the school summer holiday season at West Bay. An HM Coastguard Auxiliary Rescue Service also operates from West Bay. In an emergency situation, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard. We want you to enjoy the sea at West Bay, but please observe safety procedures. Take note of all safety signs on the beaches. Do not enter the sea during adverse weather conditions and never when the sea looks rough, even during the summer!