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.

The Bull Hotel Bridport

Written by Steven Powell. Posted in Bridport Photography

This photograph is of the Bull Hotel in Bridport,

It has been a very important part in bridport Towns history indeed it has been a big part of national history too.

In 1685, the Duke of Monmouth’s first conflict occurred at the Bull Inn in East Street during his failed attempt to overthrow King James II from the throne.

A troop of Monmouth’s men under Colonel Venner entered the town, shots were fired from the Bull and in the mêlée that followed, Edward Coker of Mapperton and Wadham Strangways were killed.

Colonel Venner was also shot and wounded by the King’s militia from the now bricked up window at the front of The Bull Hotel. Soon afterwards, the owner Daniel Taylor, a local merchant and Quaker, set up a trust financed by rents from the Bull Hotel.

The income was used to fund a school and teacher for twelve poor children of the town. The school room was above the newly built Bridport Town Hall.

In 1849 the Bull Hotel was sold to the Knight family, remaining under the family’s ownership for the nFestivalext 110 years. It was re-built with a ballroom, minstrels’ gallery and billiard room. Through the late 1900’s the Bull Hotel was becoming rather tired looking, but in recent years under the control of new owners the Hotel has been restored to its former glory.

And is again at the center of Bridports culture and is a hub of activity holding and taking an active part in various festivals including the Bridport Literary Festival, The Bridport Hat Festival, The spirit of Bridport Festival, The Bridport Food Festival.

Many local clubs use The Bull hotel for meetings including Bridport Rotary club.

If ever there is a building that is part of our national history and an important part of Bridport, then this is that building, it was a joy to photograph.

Leakers Bakery.

Written by Steven Powell. Posted in Bridport Photography

Leakers Bakery, Bridport

Leakers Bakery in Bridport.

Leakers Bakery in Bridport has won many awards for it tasty hand-made traditional produce all baked on the premises on brick-floored ovens.

The bakery dates back to the 1800s

The service you recieve as a customer is also as charming as the building itself.

it is my favorite shop in bridport if fact my favorite shop anywhere in the world.

This Photograph was taken early in the morning as the shop window was filling up with goodies like an aladdin’s cave of temptation, the smell that filled the air from the freshly baked bread was out of this world too.

When i was taking this photograph it took me a while because of the steady stream of customers entering the bakery, i used a long exsposure with my camera on a tripod , as the sun was rising the light hit the shop just right , i am very happy with the result.