Naturist / Nudist Beaches in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
Eastney Beach - Portsmouth Hampshire
Popular shingle city beach at the end of the Portsmouth / Southsea seafront. The battle with developer's has been won for now.
This shingle beach (also known as 'Fraser Beach') is situated at the Eastney (east) end of Portsmouth and Southsea seafront. The local council are aware of its tradition of nude use. One reporter says: 'It's my contention that Eastney is the easiest-access naturist beach in southern England, and no one has challenged this yet.'
In recent years the issue of public access to the beach has been the subject of a dispute associated with the proposed development of nearby former Ministry of Defence land (see below). As of April 2021, the beach is being used by naturists as normal, but the future is mixed. The former MOD site has been sold on, and the new owners have applied for planning permission.
Eastney has an active user group - eastneybeach.org.uk
Portsmouth is easily reached by means of the M27/A27 and by public transport. Eastney is on the south-easy tip of Portsea Island. Take the A2030 from the A27 towards Southsea, turn left at the football club roundabout and left again just before Eastney swimming pool .There is a car park at the junction of Fort Cumberland Rd and Melville Rd. A narrow road leads down to the entrance to the former Defence Research Establishment. To the right of the entrance, a footpath leads to the beach. On reaching the beach turn left and you reach the naturist section within only 100 yards.
By public transport, take the train to Portsmouth and Southsea, then by bus to Eastney (I think the stop is Eastney barracks, if not, ask for the "radar station" - they'll know where you mean.
"Number 40 First National bus from Waterloovile or Cosham, direct to the sea front, then a short walk, will take you to the beach."
Although not, perhaps, the best part of a shingle beach, Eastney is described as being 'well sheltered' and offering 'pleasant sunbathing'.
"Simple, neutral, no fuss. The siting of the notices is, in my opinion, the most sensible that could have been chosen, and does not curtail, even by implication, the area which has been used by naturists. Well done Portsmouth City Council... "
There are toilets and refreshments available at the nearby caravan site.
2001 : The local council put up notices at the eastern end of the beach. Topped by the City coat of arms, they state "The beach beyond this point is used by nudists." They have since been removed.
2005 : A planning application was submitted by QinetiQ (a private company formed from a section of the Ministry of Defence) to build 131 homes on land adjoining Eastney naturist beach. Local naturists began the "Save Eastney Naturist Beach Campaign" to oppose this development which, they believed, would threaten their continuing use of the beach. Outline planning permission was granted, but QinetiQ have since been involved in a protracted dispute with the local Council. It had appeared that the efforts of the Campaign Group had secured future public access to the beach, but events in 2010 have thrown this into some doubt. Naturist use has never been a legal right, but has been tolerated and supported for very many years. A lot of positive local media coverage had been gained during the campaign.
2010 : Security guards were stationed at the access to the beach on a number of occasions.
2011 - Mar : the Portsmouth Council Planning Committee met and decided to rescind the 2005 grant of outline planning consent to QinetiQ for the redevelopment of land at the Faser Range site - on the grounds that "the planning context upon which the original decision [was based] was becoming more and more out of date". The oustanding planning application by Qinetic will now be considered afresh, including a new process of public consultation. The Committee was told that "the changes in circumstances [since 2005] were such that officers could not be satisfied that this Committee would come to the same conclusions based on the present material circumstances"
2014 - Aug : QinetiQ win an appeal against the council to build an access road to the site. A new planning application for flats is sure to follow. In the meantime, naturists are continuing to use Eastney Beach as they have done for many years.
2019 - Jul : QinetiQ have sold the site. The new owners have applied for planning permission.
2021 - Apr : No change
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We have used Eastney as a naturist beach for nearl twenty years .
Went there today for the first time - possibly the busiest naturist beach I've been to. No wandering around wondering if you're in the right spot - today there were people sunbathing naked right up to where the path comes onto the beach. Turn left off the path and you're among them. The clothed folks to the right of the path didn't seem to have any objection.
I was there around high tide and it's all pebbles and a bit uncomfortable to walk on even in sandals with the small stones. There's a section of concrete seawall at the east end which some people base themselves on - an option if you really don't like the shingle.
Today it was mostly men, a few couples, no families that I noticed, but the odd well-behaved dog. Didn't notice any [inappropriate] behaviour of any kind. Only complaint is that the sea's still a bit chilly for swimming!
The sign mentioned above seems to have disappeared, or at least I didn't see it.
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The beach descriptions originally came from the closed NUFF website.
Thanks to its authors.