Colmers Hill Bridport.

Written by Steven Powell. Posted in Bridport Photography

Bridport photographer Steven Powell Landscape Photograph of Colmers Hill taken in silhouette during early spring near Birdport Dorest The main landmark in the village of Symondsbury is the distinctive Colmer’s Hill,It is highly visible from the main street in Bridport and all roads into the town, its significance extends back to around AD 987. The village has a pub The Ilchester Arms, which is a 15th century village inn, its own pottery and also a wonderful primary school. The Doomsday Book suggests that ownership of the West Bay area around the 11th Century was split between Symondsbury, holding the west bank for the Abbey of Cerne and Burton Bradstock holding the east bank for the Crown. However, medieval records indicate disputes over both beach and harbour involving a third party upstream on the River Brit for the Borough of Bridport. The ‘Right of Wreck’ was always a contentious issue, the Abbot of Cerne and the Prior of Frampton for Burton Bradstock often took legal action against the ‘Borough of Bridport’ for removing wrecks from the shore of Bridport harbour. Currently The village is still the head of Symondsbury Parish which extends from the village of Eype and West bay in the south, to the Marshwood Vale in the north. The village is set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. By the mid 18th Century, cider production had become very popular, apple orchards were prolific in the surrounding areas of Bridport, Symondsbury, Chideock and Beaminster. Many orchards were attached to houses and cottages, In 1999 the Apple Project was set up by two local families in order to restore an old cider orchard in Symondsbury, Dorset. colmershill landscape The two families were dismayed that trees laden with fruit where going to waist as all the fruit was destined for a compost bin. later in 2004/5 The Symondsbury Apple Project undertook research into Dorset’s Orchard and cider history discovering that in the Symondsbury parish there were over 100 acres of orchard in 1839. Only a couple of small production orchards still exist, with the remains of a handful of others. In the charter of Cerne Abbey, it was stated that ‘Aeschere’ is the ancient name of Symondsbury. When the Vikings invaded from Scandinavia the local villagers lit beacons as a warning. legend has it that a Viking chief called ‘Sigismund’ landed and saw the beacon on Colmer’s Hill and announced it would be called ‘Sigismund’s Berg’ Later it became known as Symondsbury.  

Colmers Hill in Dorset, England, one and a half miles west of Bridport town.

  Colmers Hill takes its name from the “Colmer Tenement”, This family were tenants of the Dukes of Somerset and Earls of Ilchester,Then in the 17th and 18th Centuries and the Rev. John Colmer was the rector from 1805-06. It was during World War I that Caledonian Pine trees were planted on the summit by Major W P Colfox MC, which I can assume is a tribute to when the Vikings had invaded. Colmers Hill is now an iconic subject for artists and photographers alike and is much loved by all who live near it .

37th Annual West Dorset Vintage Rally in Bridport

Written by Steven Powell. Posted in Bridport Events Photography

After a hard days work , its good to let off some steam

After a hard days work , its good to let off some steam

West Dorset Vintage Rally.

The annual West Dorset vintage Rally ( West Bay Steam Fair), has been held for the past 37years and has become a must see event here in Bridport Dorset.

The event attracts thousands of visitors and seems to get bigger every year, and boosts an Auto jumble sale along with general trade stalls, hot food from its many catering stalls and a bar for a refreshing drink.

The event has a auction of bygones and vintage memorabilia, a parade of vintage vehicles along with many ring events.

Also on show at the event are many steam engines, vintage tractors and stationary engines, classic cars and motorcycles.

I must add on a personal note, I found this event to be a wonderful place to be , all the old machines were almost alive with clunking and hissing noises, and the smell of coal fire in the air was magical.

I look forward to next years event.

A magical time was had by all !

A magical time was had by all !


Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

Written by Steven Powell. Posted in Bridport Photography

Abbotsbury Subtropical gardens were established in 1765 by the first Countess of Ilchester as a kitchen garden for her nearby castle.

The remains of the castle can still be seen just a short walk from the gardens towards Chesil Beach.

Since its early beginnings, it has developed into a magnificent 20 acre garden set in a wooded and sheltered valley, which provides a microclimate in which rare and exotic plants from all over the world can flourish.

Many of these plants were first introductions to this country, discovered by the plant hunting descendants of the Countess.

The Garden is a mixture of formal and informal flowers, world famous for it’s Camellia groves and magnolias.

Noted in Dorset for its Rhododendron and Hydrangea collections and the charming Victorian Garden,there is also The Oak Pavilion, with its elevated position and ‘aisle-like’ access walkway.

There are also other unusual buildings within the Gardens, such as the Summer House in the himalayan garden. I have created this short video of the gardens,and i must say it is one of my most favourite places in the world!

West Bay

Written by Steven Powell. Posted in Bridport Photography

West Bay

West Bay

West Bay.

Was known as Bridport Harbour, West bay is about two miles south from the centre of Bridport Town on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, and is at the mouth of the River Brit.

It is a small harbour, two piers and two beaches. The east beach is at the end of the Chesil Beach. West Bay and Chesil Beach make up part of the Jurassic Coast world heritage site, I think the beautiful and varied geography make it the most beautiful part of the southern coast.

Records show that West Bay’s harbour can be traced back in history to the 13th century when sluices were constructed across the mouth of the River Brit to form a navigable entrance,Ships could sail up the river Brit as far as Palmers brewery.

The Great Western Railway reached Bridport in 1857,This resuled in a decline of Bridport Harbour and its renaming as West Bay.

The Earl of Ilchester , along with local business men were spurred into action as a link to the sea was still essential to Bridports commerce and funded an extension to the harbour, which was completed by 1883.

Subsequently they established the West Bay Building Company to build villas and lodging houses for visitors. In 1885 a terrace of ten lodging houses was completed.

The terrace is a main feature of West Bay to this day.

Due to years of sea erosion and storm destruction a new pier had to be constructed,The new West Pier was named ‘The Jurassic Pier’ and opened to the public at midday on Friday 17th December 2004.
West Bay

West Bay

The total cost of this project was a cost of £18 million it has a length of 240 metres, recessed lighting is included for evening walks along its length.

The Jurassic Pier is a wonderful asset to West Bay ans is an investment to the area for years to come.

West Bay has been used as a location in many television programs and series by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 such as 1999/2000 drama Harbour Lights, The TV show River Cottage and man many more.


Written by Steven Powell. Posted in Bridport Photography

Bridport is surrounded by many beautiful hills and rolling countryside but dont be fooled into thinking it is a a small town that has no importance.

The King of Wessex, better known as Alfred the Great, established it as a fortified burgh in the late 9th Century.

In the 10th century Bridport had a mintmit was to the north of the town believed to be where Pymore mills are today, so bridport must have been a place of some importance.

In 1253 Henry III made the town a Royal Borough,later confirmed by Elizabeth I and James I.

The local land is very well suited to growing both hemp and flax, So it would be natural that a rope making industry would grow up here.

It was so important in 1213 that King John made the ropers to work ‘night and day’ to make the rope he needed for his navy, Rope from Bridport was also used for making hangmen’s nooses.

In fact the noose was nicknamed ‘a Bridport dagger’ which was put to good use by the infamous Judge Jeffreys the “Hanging judge” and with a cruel twist of fait nearly all from bridport who where involed with the Duke of Monmouth battle to overthrough the king would of in some way helped to make the rope for their own execution’s .

In the time of Henry VIII the rope making industry in Bridport was so important he ordered that all hemp grown within 5 miles of the town should be reserved to make rope for his navy.

14th-century Bridport was blessed in a number of ways its maritime links and history as a market, this provided a good mercantile basis.

But it was something else which tranformed, for centuries, the prosperity of the town. Flax had come to Britain with the Romans, but it was in 9th-century Saxon England that it started to be more widely cultivated.

Successive Tudor monarchs insisted that increasing portions of arable land around Bridport be devoted to hemp production to ensure the supplies necessary for the rope-making industry.

In Bridport, by the middle of the 16th century, if you grew hemp within five miles of the town, you had, by Act of Parliament, to sell it at Bridport’s market.

Then in the late 16th century Queen Elizabeth gave Bridport a new charter and allowed the people to hold markets and fairs. In the early 17th century, the burgeoning East India Company needed supplies of sails and rigging for its fleet of ships. A century later, fishing line, to be supplied to the Newfoundland cod fleet and colonies.

Throughout history Bridport has been at the centre of rope and net production and even now it is still producing high quaity nets and rope for many industrys,including sports,fishing, aerospcae,and space exploration.