Naturist / Nudist Beaches in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
Quiet pebble beach on the west side of the Solent Estuary
Calshot naturist beach lies on the north shore of the Solent estuary, south from Southampton. Another traditional nude beach a little to the west - at Lepe - is said to have been 'occupied' by textile beach-goers of late.
From the M27 west of Southampton at Junction 2, turn south onto the A326 to Marchwood, Hythe and Fawley. At Fawley bear right onto the B3053 to Calshot. As you approach the beach, there is a paying car park on the right but if you continue past this and turn right into a short one way system, it is usually possible to park along the road, free of charge.
By the cafe, there is a gap in the beach huts allowing access to the beach. Walk the full length of the beach in a south-westerly direction, probably no more than half a mile, towards the Isle of Wight in the distance. The naturist section starts around the first of the (very dilapidated) groynes. This is past a very elaborate mock-Grecian boathouse and the enormous beach gates to a clifftop house called Nelson's Rest.
DO NOT venture beyond the large fence across the beach, beyond which is a nature reserve.
"When I went for my first aimless stroll along the beach, I eventually fetched up at the southern boundary, where I paused for a while. Unlike Studland, this boundary isn't between nuddies and textiles, but between a public-access area and a nature reserve. Going into the reserve (which stretches down to low-water mark) is prohibited, and there's a substantial full-height fence so the boundary is very clear."
For those without a car, the beach can be reached by cycle from Hythe. Get to Hythe on the ferry from Southampton, which has adequate public transport links. Bit of a climb from Hythe up to the main road, then relatively flat. No specific bike parking, so lock it/them to roadsigns etc.
[Jul-20] Had some feedback about access problems. A weathered sign dating back to a 1930's refers to a court case which decided that both the shore and (unusually) foreshore were private. There is permitted access along the rather pretty beach as far as the nature reserve wall (no access). It seems naturists are no longer welcome in this section.
The England Coast Path review has not helped - the route is inland (!) at this point. I think the fact that the owners use a section of their beach as a no-access "nature reserve" greatly helped their case to keep the public out. Technically, the nature reserve fence shouldn't go below the high tide mark as it hinders the absolute right of marine navigation - even over private foreshore at high tide :)
This webpage on the beach's geology has a picture of the sign.
The beach faces just east of south. Much of the beach is pebbles, but some sand appears at low tide (and can be found underfoot further out).
"The water's not as clear/clean as Studland, and you need plastic sandals to cope with the
stones, sandcastles are impossible except in a couple of places at particular states of the tide, but it's still a lovely place..."
At high tide there can be very little beach exposed between sea and cliff/vegetation - so check tide tables. The top of the beach has a relatively steep slope, but at low tide the slope is very slight - you may need to wade out some way to get to swimming depth. The beach is backed by trees and scrub - but this area belongs to the nearby Estate and naturists should refrain from trespassing on private property for the sake of the tolerated use of the beach. There are good views of the Isle of Wight, sailing and the occasional cruise liner. Reports suggest the beach is often quiet mid-week, becoming more popular at weekends "with the inevitable 'rubbernecks' on Jetskis and speedboats".
The nearest facilities are where you entered the beach, a small cafe selling ices, teas, burgers, chips etc, and toilets in the pay car park.
Calshot is probably the last mainland beach for tens of miles to have something of the clean water characteristics of Studland and Hengistbury Head. Even at Calshot, there is significant variation in appearance (and temperature) of water with state of tide. Summer 1999: water meets Environment Agency "guideline quality" standard.
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paul white totton. been using the naturist beach for last fourty years or so.have seen many people come and go over the period from families couples, groups singles even the photographer from H&E plus model. on apleasant summers day there is nowhere more peacefull to catch some rays and to take a dip.
Love to go there one day any nudist like to go with me
Terry & JaneJul-11
We spent a morning on Calshot - apart from two walkers we were the only two people on the beach other than those sat outside their chalets as you enter the beach. We were half way down - saw the "No Nude Bathing" signs but kept ourselves to ourselves and given it was so quiet just perfect.
Tim - the sign actually says 'No Nude Bathing'. I walked along there today June 2010 and was surprised to see four naturists enjoying the sun.
There's currently a 'no naturist' sign as you enter the beach from the textile/cafe end.... but no-one ever takes any notice of it, if you go down to the naturist area. My advice would be to cover up if in doubt... but I've not had to so so yet and it's usually delightfully quiet.
Today I visited Calshot and was pleasantly surprised.
What a lovely view of the Isle Of Wight and plenty of boats on the Solent. The beach offers plenty of privacy from the so called textiles with no passing 'traffic'. The shingle is a little uncomfortable, so I would advise taking something padded to sit on - there is some sand when the tide is out. A very peaceful location, close your eyes, listen to the tide and feel the air on your naked body... Ah!
Arrived around 2pm and walked to the far end of the beach about (10minutes/half a mile) and spent around 2 and a half hours soaking up some much needed sun. Spoke to another naturist who said it's always quiet during the week days, the two of us being the only naturists at this end of the beach, saw a couple of texiles in the distance.
I arrived at about 11am. The beach was empty, not even a textile in sight - well, it was a bit early and a bit windy. I walked to the sign which says "No entry, cliff falls" and found that there was in fact someone else on the beach. Right at the end by the barrier a middle aged bloke in his underpants! On the way back I passed two dog walkers coming the other way.
Quite a nice beach. If you go to the end you'd probably be far enough away from the textiles to feel comfortable. Six out of ten if you weren't the only one there.
What a contrast to that pit down the road in Brighton... the naturist part is very clean... there is an overspill of naturists on to the textile side [but] the textiles seem to take no notice... when the tide is out, you can walk some distance comfortably...
Comment in 'uk.rec.naturist':Jul-99
My family have used this beach for about ten years, arriving by boat from the Hamble river, as do many others. In calm conditions there is safe anchoring within about thirty feet of the shore from about two hours before high water to three hours after (my boat draws five feet), but err on the early side to leave as there is a slightly shallow bar a couple of hundred yards offshore. Very quiet mid-week, becoming popular at weekends with the inevitable 'rubbernecks' on Jetskis and speedboats. Also childrens' groups canoeing from the Calshot Activity centre pass close inshore from time to time, so be discrete to avoid offence when appropriate.
My wife and I spent Sunday (25th) at Calshot. The water's not as clear/clean as Studland, and you need plastic sandals to cope with the stones, sandcastles are impossible except in a couple of places at particular states of the tide, but it's still a lovely place and had several advantages: relatively lightly populated (around half a dozen couples plus same number of singles along the quarter-mile or so of CO beach), there's normally something to watch going on on the Solent (eg yachts of all types and sizes, commercial shipping ditto), and there's quite a bit of shade available from the trees which grow right down to the beach.
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The beach descriptions originally came from the closed NUFF website.
Thanks to its authors.