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SUN Campaign History - Sep 1997

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At a meeting in September '97 we offered regular space in TBE to both the National Trust and English Nature. Here's National Trust's contribution to TBE5:

The National Trust
for places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty
Studland - A special Place for Everyone

The beaches may be almost empty but the work goes on for the National Trust staff and volunteers at Studland, gearing up for another bumper year in 1998 with more than 1 million expected visitors.

The National Trust was bequeathed the Kingston Lacy and Corfe Castle Estate which includes Studland Beach and National Nature Reserve in 1981. Over the years more and more people from all over the country have discovered the wonderful sandy beaches and the interesting wildlife of the Nature Reserve.

Here at Studland, Trust staff work hard to ensure that everyone who comes here from sailors to sunbathers, naturists to dog walkers, enjoy their visit.

Our primary aim is to manage Studland as a National Nature Reserve and popular beach. This means we realise people visit Studland for a wide variety of reasons and we manage the area in a way that achieves the vital conservation objectives balanced within the sometimes conflicting demands of visitors.

The Trust welcomes all visitors, including naturists. To help balance everyone's interests some beach users are asked to stay within certain boundaries. This applies either in terms of area, such as naturist and people enjoying a barbecue, or by timing, such as horse riding and dog walking.

At Studland approximately a kilometre (over 1000 yards) of the coastline can be used by naturists. About 25 acres of beach and dune are marked out with red-topped wooden posts designating the naturist area. If anyone is nude outside this area they will be requested to dress or move back onto the marked stretch of beach.

Anyone wearing clothes can equally use this section of the beach but must accept they may see naturists. In the same way naturists who prefer to use the dunes section of the defined area need to accept they are in a National Nature Reserve which is crossed by a public path.

"We welcome naturists, as we do all visitors," says Celia Mead, Regional Public Affairs Manager for Wessex. "It is a wonderful stretch of coastline that we want everyone to be able to enjoy."

With such large numbers of visitors there are sometimes problems. In 1996 alone the Studland National Trust office recorded over 140 serious complaints from visitors, including naturists. All complaints are documented and handed over to the police. We aim to make it clear to all visitors the need to stay within the law whether it be racing speed boats too close to shore or illegal sexual activity within the dunes.

We are looking forward to the New Year and welcoming visitors again to this wonderful area. Enjoy your visit.

Julian Homer, Property Manager
Studland Estate, Countryside Office, Studland, Swanage BH19 3AX Tel. 01929 420259

It is interesting, you might think, that the National Trust equates nudism with enjoying a barbecue. Why, we wonder, is it possible to walk the length of Shell Bay in the summer, lose count of the number of barbecues in the dunes, and never see a National Trust warden, whilst any nudist rash enough to indulge in the far less environmentally threatening practice of setting foot outside the cordon sanitaire is likely to attract the instant attention of a hit squad of polo-shirted heavies?

And as for dogs: the proposals for next year defy analysis. Even though there is already a National Trust bylaw (rarely if ever enforced) requiring dogs to be kept under control, they have now come up with a totally unworkable proposal for banning dogs from sections of the beach whilst permitting them to run freely in the adjacent dunes! We suggested they might make a few quid -always certain to appeal to the accountant mentality of the National Trust's oligarchy - by running day kennels, but they said that that would require health certificates for individual dogs, and all sorts of insurmountable complications.

Finally, I was musing the other day on the effect of the European Convention on Human Rights, which our Improved New Labour government plans to incorporate into UK domestic law. Given that it ratifies freedoms currently denied by UK law, is it good news?


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