Morfa Dyffryn - Gwynedd
Acclaimed by regular users as one of the best beaches in the UK, Morfa Dyffryn (also known as Dyffryn Ardudwy) is located on the Welsh coast between Harlech and Barmouth in the county of Gwynedd. This location has been used by naturists since the mid-1930's and in 2000 the local authority took a decision to erect notices designating a section of the beach for naturist use.
The beach is off the A496 Barmouth to Harlech road about 4 miles north of Barmouth. Between the villages of Talybont and Dyffryn Ardudwy turn seawards into Fford Benar Lane (signposted "Traeth" - Welsh for beach), a small chapel at this junction makes it easy to see. One mile down this very narrow (in places) lane are toilets and just beyond a free car park, this has height barriers and is therefore unsuitable for van/campers etc. Follow the marked path through the dunes to the beach, turn right and walk for 25 mins (average), the naturist beach was once easily recognised by a WW2 pill box sticking out halfway up the dunes but this has been removed. Outside the summer season and depending on the severity of winter storms, the Council-erected notices may or may not be present.
Alternatively, use the (much nearer) car park at the Dyffryn Seaside Estate. To reach this, turn right at the toilets mentioned above and drive into the Seaside Estate, turn left at the mini roundabout, past the shops and pub, through the gate to park on the grass area at the rear of the dunes, follow the path to the beach, turn right for a 15 minute walk. It is slightly quicker to walk through the dunes but not recommended for first time visitors - easy to get lost. The Seaside Estate sometimes charge Â£1 for access - but usually only in the high season.
In 1999 a new 'board walk' was built from near the Snowdonia National Park Car Park through the dunes to the beach to allow disabled access although it is still a long but level trek over hard sand from there to the nude part. Makes life rather easier for those who wish to cycle too. From July 2008 this car park operates on a 'Pay and Display' basis - maximum fee Â£4 for all day.
By Rail: the Welsh Coast line from Barmouth to Porthmadog runs just inland from the beach, with stops at Dyffryn Ardudwy and Llanbedr.
Note for Dog Owners:
Dogs should be kept on a lead while passing through the Dyffryn Seaside Estate At the camp-site they actually charge for them. However dogs are not allowed in static caravans hired directly from the company - if you hire one privately it's by arrangement with the owners.
Morfa Dyffryn beach itself is ENORMOUS, even the part used by naturists is about 1 mile in length - and to the rear of that are hundreds of acres of peaceful dunes and scrubland between the beach and the airfield. An enthusiastic regular visitor reports: '"The beach is clean, as is the sea which shelves gently so swimming is possible - and the tide doesn't go out miles! The main beach is used by families, couples and singles - the usual mix in fact." There is plenty of room for all. The views to the rear are of Snowdonia and the Rhinog mountains and to the front across Tremadog Bay can be seen the Llyn Peninsular"
In general, Naturists are advised to keep out of the dune area.
The nearby military airfiled, from where pilotless planes for target towing used to be flown is now no longer operational.
The Future of Dyffryn
In general, the effect that official recognition and the sign posts have had on naturism at Dyffryn has not been negative. The council-designated naturist area is somewhat less than the 1 mile length traditionally used, but complaints from textile beach users appear to have been significantly reduced. On the other hand there is some evidence that greater numbers of "undesireables" have been drawn to the beach. Dyffryn is an important beach to the UK's naturist community, and must have greatly advanced UK naturism down the years.
For many years naturists visiting Morfa Dyffryn have enjoyed camping at "Glyn's Field" (no website - 2013), which provided basic but naturist-friendly facilities. Following the sad death of Glyn himself - in May 2006 - his Son and Daughter-in-law continue to offer camping facilities.
To find "Glyn's Field" :
Turn off the main road by the chapel, turn right towards the caravan site and there a gate on your right a few yards after the junction. Not a lot of facilities: the field gets mown and there's one water tap
Camping is also available at Benar Beach Caravan Park and (textile) Dyffryn Seaside Estate. No touring caravans or campervans at Dyffryn Seaside Estate, no caravans at Glyn's Field but campervans are OK, both types at Benar Beach. Static vans can be rented at the seaside estate. Benar Beach has a small completely enclosed naturist area with room for about 10 caravans / motorhomes/ tents.
Selected Visitor Comments
April 2000 - "For the 2000 summer season, the local council has decided to erect sign posts deliminating the naturist area... it may attract poor publicity to the beach, but the council is the council and we'll have abide by them. Overall though the beach is, like most naturist beaches, safe. There has never been a serious incident at Morfa Dyffryn..."
January 2001 - "The Liverpool Daily Post reported on the 14th December 2000 that the number of complaints about the naturists on this beach has dropped from 20 in 1999 to only 1 in 2000. This has been attributed to the designation of a naturist area, and the patrols on the beach. The local council are delighted, and the designated area will continue."
August 2002 - "My most recent visit was August Bank holiday so I was expecting lots of people there, but... there were no more than 150 people or less using the nude section. The designated area.. could easily be moved back half a kilometre at least as the people that turn up to use the regular [textile] beach congregate only on the first few hundred yards... The mix of people is still as mentioned... with just a smattering of straight couples/single women.. the beach is well worth a visit, it's clean, safe [and] vast..."
August 2002 - "The camping at Benar bay was small and friendly although the enclosed area felt a little claustrophobic. The beach was gorgeous [but] [redacted]
August 2004 - "...we went to the naturist section to find that it was pretty full of other likewise people, couples and singles relaxing and enjoying themselves. We stripped off and settled down to a good afternoon's sunbathing, a lovely breeze , plenty of sun and a great splash about in the sea, made sure that we will be back there again one day."
August 2004 - "We found the beach to be spotless and well used. People on the whole were very friendly and there were many families which made it an easy and pleasant first time experience. My only concerns and irritations were the odd creepy single character... which spoils an otherwise natural relaxed experience."
January 2005 - "The beach is almost spotless and such space! We were careful to avoid a family with young children however dad came over and told us that they were perfectly happy as the beach was designated for naturists. I can't say we had a swim as the water was rather cold, but a most enjoyable afternoom."
June 2005 - "...a glorious sunny and hot Saturday...beach and dunes were in full use by all types and gender of naturists. A fantastic day at the beach. [redacted]"
July 2005 - "It was fabulous! Miles of wide golden sand and plenty of room for all. We were so happy with our own company (plenty on the beach, but itâs so BIG we didnât notice) that I proposed, and she accepted. Weâve now figured a way to go there âlast minuteâ â a tent... weâre able to get away at the drop of a hat if the forecastâs good. No catering â food, drink and facilities courtesy of the Dyffryn Seaside Estate (Â£12 a night)."
August 2005 - ""Since this has been an authorised naturist beach, my thought is that it has become even more of an attraction for [redacted]
August 2005 - "What a fantastic place.....I ventured topless today with my partner naked....gorgeous! Returned again today, went back again a bit into the dunes, a few people were dotted about in the dunes mainly single guys... Plenty of families and couples on the main beach though, A word of advice....take a windbreak!"
August 2005 - ... clean and the atmosphere very relaxed... People were easy to talk to - both male and female - with no hang-ups about being nude. There was a good mix of people on the beach... I would certainly recommend Morfa..."
September 2005 - "...a stunning beach and very clean... I sat next to this young couple in their thirties and they made me feel at ease."
June 2006 - "easy to find and the road to the beach was very easy to locate. A long open beach with the tide going out to about 50 yds and with a good backdrop sand dunes providing limited shelter as the wind does blow straight down the beach... a good spread of mixed couples and single males with the usual selection taking up positions at the top of dunes overlooking the beach... A wonderful location and... one of the most relaxing and peaceful naturist locations within the UK."
June 10, 2007 - "...my partner is a naturist. He's always recommended the beach at Dyffryn as being clean and friendly. It can get rather busy in the hot summer weather, and even on a rather cloudy day last year there were a couple of people there. There are still people in the dunes, but it's mainly families on the main part of the beach. The only gripe he has is the distance you have to walk to get to it..."