Back | Up | Site Map

Become a Friend of SUN - It's FREE!

Studland United Nudists - Beach report form



Bournemouth Daily Echo 'Big Debate'
Back | Up

Join Studland United Nudists

Greenacre Naturist Bed & Breakfast

Advertise with Studland United Nudists

Studland Summer Camp


SUN Group and National Trust state their case
Bournemouth Daily Echo - Jun 1997

On June 20th 1997 the Bournemouth Daily Echo published 500 words from both Studland United Nudists and the National Trust. On facing pages we both made our case:

Studland United Nudists - proud of what we believe in

We are National Trust and Studland United Nudists members who, unlike some anonymous writers, are nudists - proud of it and not afraid to put our name to the beliefs we hold. For over 70 years, Studland has always had a naturist area. This was over a mile wide, up from the shoreline to the broadleaf tree line.

We have used the beach since before the National Trust were left the land in 1982. Since then it has gone downhill. In the beginning, they had police on horseback, charging around the dunes over three weekends, through the long grass, where children were playing and people sunbathing. Now it is National Trust wardens on quad bikes at excessive speeds, swerving to avoid families sunbathing.

Where it was tranquil, with only the sound of birds and children playing, this has been drowned out by the drone of a diesel generator, coupled to a tractor-driven vending unit.

As responsible naturists the beach was self-regulated and did not need the overbearing tactics the National Trust have adopted. The National Trust are their own worst enemy, underhanded and devious in their ploys to get what they want. Any procedure for change is that it is put forward in their mandate for voting on, and given to all members. This was never done. There was a private meeting between National Trust and CCBN. This was not advertised, no local beach user could have a say. The first we knew, overnight there were red and yellow topped posts.

A meeting was arranged with about 200 naturists present. We were told they were a temporary experiment for restricting naturists.

Within weeks 1,200 signatures opposed the restrictions. The National Trust ignored this. As a result, Studland United Nudists Group was formed.

A meeting was held with the National Trust, but whilst waiting to meet them, the National Trust were on the side boundary with a film crew, making claims that it was the side boundaries that naturists were objecting to when in fact it was the four-fifths that had been removed from the rear boundary.

It was put to the National Trust, who introduced Heather Walk for prudes not wishing to see nudes, to re-route the walk behind the broadleaf tree line, a natural screen. They said 'No". We asked if we could use up to the Point, an area not used at all. This would make it not so far for our elderly and disabled naturists to walk. Again this was refused.

Recently, Purbeck District Council informed the National Trust they needed planning permission for the posts and gave them 14 days to apply. The National Trust ignored them.

At present, the National Trust are wasting vast sums of money, having police at Studland, picking out certain naturists and harassing them, causing more bad feeling.

The National Trust are continually decimating trees and gorse, disregarding conservation and, to top it all, disclosed to Purbeck District Council that they intend to remove the broadleaf tree line, which is approx 100m wide by 2kms.

Naturism is not declining, it is increasing. The National Trust remain oblivious to this.

Peter and Sue Dangerfield, Bournemouth

The National Trust - Trying to be fair to all beach users

Studland Beach is one of the most beautiful and busiest beaches on the South Coast. It is owned by the National Trust, the UK's leading conservation charity.

The National Trust aims to balance fairly the demands of all its visitors (for example: families, horse riders, winds surfers, naturists and dog walkers) for the safety and comfort of everyone.

Naturist use of Studland dunes started in the 1930s and has grown in popularity ever since. During the 1970s, the naturists began openly using the beach as well as the secluded dunes. This led to the Bankes Estate seeking a bylaw to stop nudists using the area.

In 1982, the Estate passed to the National Trust on the death of the late Ralph Bankes. The National Trust's ruling council agreed not to try and stop naturists using the area. This remains Trust policy.

Now, up to 4,000 naturists use the area on a busy Bank Holiday. With around 20,000 people in total on such days, the beach is very crowded.

In 1994, Dorset Police raised serious concerns about the significant deterioration in the standards of behaviour on Studland beach. There had also been a marked increase in the number of complaints from visitors about illegal sexual activities there. Some visitors reported feeling intimidated and were avoiding certain sections of the beach.

The National Trust took these concerns very seriously and started to tackle the problems by working closely with the police to prevent illegal sexual behaviour on the beach. Visitors are now reassured by the presence of regular, uniformed police patrols at Studland throughout the year.

In 1995, an area was designated for use particularly by those who prefer not to wear clothes. Clothed visitors are also free to enter the area, which covers nearly a kilometre (24 acres) of the beach, and is marked by red-topped posts and information signs.

Naturists are asked to stay within the designated area while unclothed, and to put on some clothing when outside it. This request is in the interest of everyone visiting Studland, to enable all visitors to enjoy the beach to the full. Visitors who prefer to avoid stumbling on nude sunbathers unaware can follow the 'Heather Walk'. This path is way-marked by yellow posts.

Purbeck District Council has confirmed that it supports the use of marker posts around the naturist area and on Heather Walk.

The Trust consults regularly with the official representative group of British naturists, the Central Council for British Naturism, who are very supportive of the arrangements for naturists at Studland and appreciate the need to make clear the boundaries of the designated area. The Trust also has support from other local naturists and the local parish council.

The Trust has faced opposition from "Studland United Nudists" who feel that there should be a right to roam naked outside the designated area. However, the Trust has a duty to ensure all its visitors can enjoy this wonderful site in safety and without embarrassment.

Mark Harold, Dorset Area Manager, National Trust

Analysis by Colin James

Given the constrictions of a 500-word limit imposed by the editor, Pete and Sue did pretty well, getting over our case fairly comprehensively.

Let's have a closer look at the National Trust's contribution. We'll let pass Harold's ludicrous assertion that the National Trust is a "conservation charity" because as we all know it's nothing more than a huge money-making operation.

Once again the National Trust is trying to imply that 'naturists' and 'families' are mutually exclusive.

The reference to wind surfers is a red herring - you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of these who use Studland in any year.

As for dog walkers, he conveniently forgets to mention that they intend to ban dogs from next year (as revealed in their new publicity blurb) - although how they are proposing to place such a restriction on a public right of way (the Coast Path) is open to question.

This is the first time anyone has accused the Bankes Estate of trying to ban nudists. Even if such an application was made, it is manifestly obvious that it was unsuccessful, and therefore not deemed to be necessary.

Local management acting contrary to official National Trust policy

The actual resolution by the National Trust's ruling council was that "The Trust would not promote new naturist areas, but would not attempt to restrict those areas where naturism was well established".

In this, the local management are acting contrary to official National Trust policy.

Of course it is crowded with 20,000 people there. So what is the point of trying to make it even more crowded, by insisting that naturists confine themselves to an area in which there is barely enough room to swing a cat?

The local management of the National Trust are incapable of separating sex from nudity. As we told them last year, if they think that making people put clothes on is going to stop them having sex then they are either stupendously naive or unbelievably stupid, or both. As a writer to another periodical said recently, "Of course you don't want to be confronted with people having sex in public, but that's an argument for more bushes, not less sex."

And so to the "designated area". Why should clothed visitors have privileges that are denied to us? They are free to enter our area, and as we know they do - in ever-increasing numbers - but we are denied access to their area. We are expected to dress outside the ghetto, "to enable all visitors to enjoy Studland to the full". Except nudists. Harold refuses to accept what is self evident - that once we put on clothes, our enjoyment ceases, because the whole point of being a nudist is, well, to be nude! If we've got to wear clothes, why bother to slog all the way to Studland? And there is the crux of the matter - everything the National Trust has done over the last fifteen years has been directed at driving us away from Studland.

The purpose of Heather Walk, we are told, is for people who do not want to see naturists. We have proved on video that this is a downright lie - this disgusting path passes within twenty yards of the red posts and we have video evidence that naturists within the red posts are clearly visible to walkers on the path. The sole purpose of Heather Walk is to encourage people to complain about naturists, so that the National Trust can attempt even more vicious restrictions, and justify their appallingly arrogant and insensitive behaviour.

We have said before, and we will go on saying ad infinitum, CCBN represents only the clubs from whom they derive the vast majority of their income. And what "other local naturists" are they referring to? The only other group that can possibly claim to be local is the Wimborne Swim, and we know that most of them are far from happy with the way the National Trust manages Studland.

As to the parish council, we made enquiries of that body and were told categorically that they have had no discussions with the National Trust about the naturist area.

Of course the Trust has faced opposition from us. They have attempted to impose, without consideration or consultation, a totally unacceptable infringement of our liberty.

To blame us for a few incidents - of which the only ones quoted to us were well outside our traditional area, and concerned flashers and perverts in the Shell Bay dunes near the ferry and grass lurkers near Knoll Beach - and to put the interests of a minute minority of prudes  above those of probably the most conservation-minded and well behaved group of visitors Studland has ever known or ever will, is a perversity which is not to be tolerated.

We are not demanding anything new - all we are insisting on is that the National Trust respect our long-established right to enjoy a spectacularly beautiful area of countryside without harassment or vilification. All they have to do is to restore the preliminary advisory notices that used to be prominently displayed at the entrances to the area, which said "Naturists have used the northern end of Studland Bay for many years".

It is not unreasonable to suggest that visitors, who do not wish to see nudists, should either go somewhere else - there are 13 miles of beach between Swanage and Christchurch, and thousands of acres of heathland for their enjoyment - or that they should be provided with a path BEHIND THE NATURAL SCREEN OF THE BROADLEAF WOODLAND.

When we suggested this, they pooh-poohed it as impossible; but there is already a clearly defined path from Shell Bay to the seaward edge of the Little Sea, and it would only require the erection of a walkway - similar to although slightly longer than the one they seem to have found no difficulty building between Shell Bay and the car park - to cross a short stretch of marshy ground and link up with another path running from Knoll Beach northward. But of course, if they did that, they wouldn't be able to justify their vendetta against nudists, would they? That solution would be far too much like common sense!

If you want to add your voice to the Echo's Big Debate, write to Readers' Letters, Daily Echo, Richmond Hill, Bournemouth BH2 6HH or fax 01202 292115. Please write if you can.