Naturist / Nudist Beaches in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
Sandwich Bay Kent
An expensive car-park on a private estate, or a long but easy walk, to a quiet beach.
Sandwich Bay is situated on the Eastern coast of Kent, about five miles south of Ramsgate. The beach is a peninsular - cut off by the Stour river to the west and north, and by the sea to the east. The naturist area is at the north end of the beach. It is backed by sand dunes and a golf course. Further north is a nature reserve. There have been some problems in the past with 'unfriendly natives' at the golf club.
There is (as of 2013) a plan to create a long distance footpath in this area, part of an English Coast national path. However this will not improve access to this area. If anything, the coast path plan will make access much worse, with lots of access restrictions as part of the nature reserve.
Satnav: CT13 9QB (toll road car park). Google Map
Access to the beach is complicated by the presence of a 'Private Estate' which levies a toll for use of the roads to the beach and the golf course(s).
From Ramsgate to the north take the the A256 to Sandwich. The A256 bypasses Sandwich itself - which has "a notorious one-way system" - so turn off to reach the town.
From the near the town railway station, take St. Georges Road to the Private Estate, past a turning to Sir Roger Manwood's school. Follow the bends and pay at the toll booth (£7 per day, season ticket £70 for 2012) then turn left and left again. At the seafront drive to the end of the road. Park at the end, collect your gear and prepare to hike for about 15 minutes northwards. There is a shorter route for walkers (45 mins) or cyclists (10 mins) - see the OS map.
From Deal, take a minor road north (parallel to the coast) that becomes a single track across a golf course. This brings you to to the same Private Estate and but a different toll booth. Having paid the toll, turn right then left along the seafront. Look out for 'Golf Road' and signs to a caravan park.
One contributor suggests:
"To avoid the tolls, as you are heading south from Sandwich you will see a road to your left which leads to a golf club, just as you go over a little bridge the road follows a drainage channel - follow that road but bear left and keep going until you come to a farm where you can park. There is a footpath indicated which takes you across the golf course but straight to the nudist section of the beach....dont strip off on the golf course.. the natives are hostile!!"
The whole beach is a long sandy bay. At the Southern end there is steep stone beach which protects a private estate. As you go North and the sand takes over there is a popular family (textile) beach also popular with windsurfers. Going still further North, the road ends and the thin line of dunes starts. Adjoining the whole beach is a golf course and the Members aren't too keen on naturists.
The area (at the north end of the beach) favoured by naturists is a one-mile walk from the Bay's public car parking area.
As the dunes start so the beach seems to become less 'textile' and the further north you go the more naked couples you will find. The line of dunes doesn't afford much in the way of privacy from the footpath but most people don't seem to be too worried. When the tide is out there is a massive sandy beach to stroll along and the beach is said to be well-used despite the cost of access by car and the long walk from the car park to the nude section. Distractions include watching the passing Ramsgate-Dunkirk ferries!
Parts of Sandwich bay are owned by the National Trust and access to some areas may be restricted to protect breeding birds.
Reports suggest that estate security guards are always on the lookout for "flashers" and WILL call in the police. Also, local residents are trying to prevent naturist use of the beach, so BEWARE. To avoid trouble you should walk a long way past the car park - nearly to end of the beach - and keep out of sight of the golf course.
In 2005 complaints from golfers apparently led to a police officer being quoted in an article in the local press [entitled 'Keep your Trunks On'] suggesting that "nudists" should not use the beach and faced "further action" if they did. This, in return, prompted a letter pointing out that:
"The recently introduced Sexual Offences Act 2003 (section 66) makes it clear that anyone, male or female, who is seen naked on the beach, for example, commits no criminal offence in the absence of an intent on their part to offend another person."
As usual bring your own or stock up in Sandwich.
- Sandwich Bay Bird Watching Trust (near the toll road)
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Paid our first visit to Sandwich Bay for many years, on Monday 27th during the mini-heatwave.
Update: the toll fee is now £7 or £70 for a year.
We went past the clubhouse for 5-10 minutes until we had passed another couple. From then on, the beach was quite deserted. It was glorious. We had a relaxing time, with no [inappropriate behaviour] like we had experienced elsewhere in the South East.
At low tide, I walked down to the sea naked. It's a long way, but the sand was firm and the water warmish because it was shallow. It would have taken a long time to get out far enough to swim, so just a paddle this time. Walking in the gentle breeze without a care was refreshing.
Just one thing: where we were, the sand was gritty. My memory tells me that it the sand used to be fine. Perhaps we should have wandered further along.
"Taking advantage of the sunny days at the end of September, I decided to venture to Sandwich Bay again. I'm glad to report that the beach and dunes were much tidier than when I last visited two years ago. Then there was a lot of litter that, sadly, had probably been left by other beach users. This time, it looked as though there had been a good effort to clear up. The bright weather had also attracted a dozen or so naturists. Encouraging!
Both I and my daughter spent a wonderful day there last week. Mostly single men, but we could get some privacy in a dune. Will use this beach in the summer just a shame the walk is so long! (and the toll charges)
...a regular user in past years... I was concerned to see that "someone" had erected a post and wire fence across one stretch of the dunes. One suspects this might be yet another attempt by the golf club to discourage naturists and also to lay claim to land... The wet weather has resulted in strong growth of thorny shrubs along the edge of the dunes and this has limited the number of sandy hollows, much used in the past by naturists.
What an amazing beach. Clean water with no sign of the litter mentioned in previous reports. I bumped into a few couples and single males and we had a chat and the golf club was not hostile. Higly recommended.
The suggestion to avoid the tolls (now £5.00 per car) by parking at the end of the farm road leading off the St Georges Golf Club access road is a good one, provided you don't mind the extra 10-minute walk across the golf course. On reaching the beach car park I walked north a short way (not far enough, it transpired) but could see only textiles in both directions, so I simply stripped off where I was in mid-beach (about 50 yards from the nearest textiles) and spent about 3 hours there, swimming, eating, reading, with no objections from the many textiles who passed me as they strolled along the beach.
Later, when the tide went out, I enjoyed a 4-mile naked walk all the way up the beach to the River Stour estuary and back again. Doing this revealed that the naturist stretch of beach was further north than I'd imagined - lots of couples and some single men, mostly basing themselves close to the low dunes for privacy. If you feel safer being surrounded by other naturists, keep walking north till you see them. But if, like me, you're happy mingling with textiles, it seems you can pick any part of the beach that's not too crowded.
Recent visits to this beach throughout last summer (2004) suggest there is no problem with the local golfers, provided one doesn't wander inland towards the golf course. The beach is actually out of sight of playing golfers, behind dunes & long grasses. In practice, a great time can be had by all on the beach from a point roughly adjacent to the club house northwards for several hundred metres. My wife and I joined several nude couples and families sunbathing, playing on the beach and swimming, and will definitely return. The cost of access and parking the car all day is little different from any other public car park and is well worth it. Although this is an unofficial site, take some comfort from the fact that the local police are not interested in genuine naturists along here.
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The beach descriptions originally came from the closed NUFF website.
Thanks to its authors.