The naturist area at Studland Beach is to be expanded. The National Trust is responding to requests by naturists to extend the northern part of the naturist beach 50m inland. The length of beachfront designated for naturism stays the same and the expansion plan will not affect the Heather Walk footpath, which remains outside the naturist area. New marker posts have been put in place and new signs will also be placed on the approaches.
The move comes eight years after the launch of a beach user group, the Studland Beach Users Action Group (SBUAG), which includes representatives of local councils, beach hut owners, naturist organisations and the Police. SBUAG was founded in 2005 to address concerns that the naturist area had become associated with acts of indecent and antisocial behaviour carried out by a minority of users.
The group employs yellow-shirted community wardens to patrol the beach.
Allegations of indecent behaviour reported to National Trust staff have fallen from 37 in 2003 to five last year.
“Naturists have been asking for more space for some time and we are happy to help in a way which is sensitive to the needs of all our visitors,” said National Trust Studland Beach Operations Manager Emma Wright. “We will keep the situation under review and continue to work with SBUAG and the police to ensure Studland Beach remains a safe and welcoming environment for everyone.”
Purbeck Neighbourhood Inspector Fiona Gaffney of Dorset Police said: “We want everyone who comes to Studland Beach to enjoy their visit. Anyone acting in an indecent or anti-social manner will be dealt with appropriately by Dorset Police. If anyone witnesses any offences on Studland Beach – or anywhere else in Dorset – they should report them to Dorset Police.”
Peter Thurley, for British Naturism, the UK’s national organisation for naturists, said: “Naturism is a healthy lifestyle and anyone whose behaviour drags it into disrepute doesn’t get any support from us. We’re delighted that the area used by naturists at Studland is being made bigger; not only will the new boundary follow the contours of the land more logically, but it will help the environment too, by spreading the footfall over a larger area. Studland beach is indeed a success story, and we hope that the way that all stakeholders there work together will be a blueprint for elsewhere in the country.”
(From the Bournemouth Echo 2:08pm Thursday 25th April 2013 in News)