Why move to West Bay - area information and property prices

The distinctive golden cliffs of West Bay which play a starring role in Broadchurch © VisitEngland I

The distinctive golden cliffs of West Bay which play a starring role in Broadchurch © VisitEngland Images - Credit: Archant

With a notable increase in people searching online for property in this now famous film location, what does the ‘Broadchurch effect’ mean for house prices in West Dorset?

Many locals still refer to West Bay, which forms part of the Jurassic coast, by its former name of ‘Bridport Harbour’. Originally the commercial trade of this harbour was exporting ropes and nets made in Bridport before being re-named ‘West Bay’ by the Victorians who wanted to reinvented it as a holiday resort.

West Bay’s picturesque harbour remains the focal point of the town, while viewers of ITV’s Broadchurch will be familiar with the beautiful East Beach and East Cliff, which towers dramatically over the beach. A mile and half inland is the bustling town of Bridport. Its wide streets were once busy with rope making but these days it is renowned for its vibrant arts scene, however over the last decade or so it has also gained a reputation as a hub for award-winning local food producers. There is a strong community feel in this historic town, which has a wealth of independent shops, with annual events such as the Hat Festival, Bridport Food Festival, Bridport Page to Screen Film Festival and Bridport Literary Festival.

Bridport and West Bay has a combined population of approximately 13,000. There’s an eclectic mix of properties to browse ranging from bungalows and fishermen’s cottages to harbour side penthouses and Georgian town houses. Property prices can range between £75,000 to over £1m. The area is a popular retirement location for people from the South East, London and Midlands. It also appeals to families as there are good local primary and secondary schools and private schools in nearby Dorchester.

Broadchurch has certainly put this part of West Dorset on the map. Indeed, such is the award-winning show’s popularity that Rightmove has reported 12 times as many searches over the last few months for the village of ‘Broadchurch’, despite the fact it is a fictional location! They also revealed that over the last month the number of property searches for properties in West Bay and Bridport has trebled. So it’s no surprise that one of the Broadchurch cast, Pauline Quirke, recently bought a little local bolthole.

Estate agents are also seeing the ‘Broadchurch effect’ as Martin Bowen-Ashwin, Branch Director of Humberts in Bridport explains: “We have witnessed a surge in enquiries for West Bay and the general area since the start of the new series,” he says. “Second homes are very popular, either as a buy-to-let or to rent to tourists, and the boost from Broadchurch is likely to increase this demand. Prices vary depending on the location – you could get a one bed flat for less than £100,000 on one side of West Bay, whereas some properties by the harbour come with a premium. Only time will tell what impact Broadchurch will have on the local property market.”

Local property market - average prices - rightmove.co.uk

• Flats: £223,589

• 2-3 bedroom terraced house: £199,800

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• 3-4 bedroom detached house: £343,278



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