I’ve been visiting West Bay in Dorset for around 12 years when some of my extended family moved their. When I first visited the seaside village in 2005, I instantly fell in love with it. The harbour was surrounded by small shed selling fish and chips and ice cream, the views were stunning from 360 degrees and the village felt quaint.
Since then, I returned to West Bay most years until 2013, when work commitments meant I couldn’t make the annual visit. This year (December 2016) we made a trip back to see my wife’s grandmother who was receiving chemotherapy. On day two, we went for our usual walk around the village and I was instantly struck by how much busier the area way. It was a cold, winters afternoon on New Years Eve yet the beach and car-parks were just as busy as any summers day I could remember. That’s when it struck me that the fame of Broadchurch had struck.
People were clearly flocking to the area due to it’s fame. Those infamous Jurassic cliff paths were now clearly more trodden and climbed than they had ever been. New shops had appeared as well as a new beach-front restaurant, presumably as a result of the increased demand for consumers. The Harbour Store shop was now as well stocked as I had ever remembered and a new coffee shop had replaced the old electrical store.
Some of the traditional shops remained. Samway’s fishmonger was still there, as were the fishing and tackle shops, but everything just felt busier. TV had turned West Bay from a quaint seaside village into Broadchurch.
People were also very interested in what had previously been unnoticed building. Tourists were taking photos of the little blue shack with was famously used as David Tennant’s home during the series. I later read that shack sold for over £50,000 more than the asking price in January 2015 thanks purely to it’s fame in Broadchurch.
Suddenly West Bay wasn’t so quaint anymore, and I found that just a little bit sad. Of course it’s till the same place with it’s beautiful surroundings, but it feels somewhat commercial now.