Naturist / Nudist Beaches in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
Studland Beach - Purbeck Dorset
Official. Well known. Near Bournemouth. 1km section of sandy beach backed by dunes and NT pay carparks. Shallow sea protected by sandbar good for swimming
Studland beach is located on the north-eastern tip of the part of Dorset known as the 'Isle of Purbeck', separated from Bournemouth by the entrance to Poole harbour. The naturist beach is the middle mile of a 3 mile long sandy beach backed by sand dunes and heather. The beach is about 20 metres wide. The sea is gently sloping and protected by an off-shore sandbar. Easily the best-known naturist beach in the UK, it has also been voted the "sixth-best beach in Britain".
There are signs marking the naturist area. The beach has no shade, and no facilities - the nearest are beach kiosks and toilets a mile or so to the south in Studland village.
Studland is, for most of its length, a traditional textile beach. However, naturists have traditionally used the northernmost part, together with the nearby dunes. Ownership of the beach and surrounding heathland nature reserve passed into the hands of the National Trust. They formed a Studland Beach Users Action Group (SBUAG), which includes representatives of local councils, beach hut owners, naturist organisations and the police to respond to inappropriate behaviour.
The NT placed restrictions on the area once used by naturists, and layed a nature trail through an area of heather behind the beach which once used by naturists, but was also a source of problem behaviour. On the positive side, nude use of the beach is now "offical", there is no inappropriate behaviour, there are sometimes community beach wardens, and the NT is happy to sell naturist ice-cream from mobile vendors :)
This plan originally caused friction between some naturists and the NT, but things seemed to have quietened down. In 2013, the NT increased the size of the naturist area by an extra 50 metres inland, but still away from the heather path.
Allegations of indecent behaviour ... have fallen from 37 in 2003 to 5 in 2012... Naturists have been asking for more space for some time and we are happy to help... -- NT
We want everyone who comes to Studland Beach to enjoy their visit... If anyone witnesses any offences ... report them to [the] Police -- Dorset Police
[Aug 2013] The beach was busy (but not crowded) over the 1 mile long naturist, and the sea perfect for swimming, on a sunny day. Many people were sitting at the start of the dunes, about 20m from the sea
By Car: Satnav: BH19 3BA There are two main ways of getting to Studland:
- From the Purbeck (west) direction take the A351 from Wareham, turning left on to the B351 for Studland before reaching Corfe Castle. In Studland drive through the village and follow signs to the Studland Beach car park. National Trust (NT) owned Knoll car park costs £6 in June and £9 in July. Free to members *with* card. 2014 prices. The fee allows you to use any NT car park in Studland area. Now walk north along the beach or tracks in the dunes until you reach the nude section which is marked by signposts on the beach and in the dunes.
- From the Bournemouth (east) direction, a ferry runs from Sandbanks across the entrance to Poole harbour to the northern tip of Studland Heath. The distance is short, but at peak times there can be a long queue for the ferry (fare £3.50 in 2013). Shortly beyond the ferry there is an NT paying car park From here you walk east and then south along the beach past Shell Bay. Many visitors appear to park along the verge of Ferry Road - if you do, please take care not to obstruct the road. Alternatively, walk along the road to "Fire Point 6" and then through the nature reserve to the beach.
[Icarus comments:] "The first time I went to Studland I had heard that it could be difficult to park, and that it's quite a distance from the car park to the naturist beach, so I took a bike in the back of the car, parked in the village and cycled down through the car park and along the wet sand at the water's edge to the naturist section. It would probably be just as easy to cycle along the road towards the ferry to fire point 6 and down the path that comes out in the middle of the naturist section. Other times I've parked on the verge near fire point 6 and walked, but I hear that's being discouraged because of the number of cars being broken into there."
By Public Transport:
[Updated 2013] For those without a car, take the train to Bournemouth, then get the #40 bus service to Swanage.
- Stay on the bus past the stop at the Studland side of the Swanage/Studland ferry, then get off at the next one. You ask for "Fire Point Six " or "FRP6". Fare: £8 return/daypass, £18 for up to 5 person group ticket. The walk along the path through the scrub from FP6 brings you out onto the beach right in the middle of the naturist section. It's the shortest of all possible walks (Shell Bay is next, then Studland "Knoll" carpark last) unless you have a boat! However, it does mean crossing the dunes, whereas the other routes (except at very high tide) do allow the whole walk to be on firm sand to minimise the amount of sand which collects inside your footwear.
- Alternatively £4 Zone A daypass (Group £10) as far as the ferry - then walk from there - follow the coast past Shell Bay to Studland Beach - about 2 miles (3 km)
The bus goes all the way to Swanage, so on reverse journeys the opposite applies:- stay on the bus past Studland village AND past the main beach carpark access for well over a mile of the toll road to FRP6. The driver should know where you mean - if not, just tell her/him to look out for a large collection of cars parked at the side of the road about half a mile from Shell Bay.
This is a very popular beach and, on a busy day, this would not be the best choice for those seeking solitude. The beach, which faces south-east, consists of sand, with dunes and heath to the rear. National Trust-employed wardens patrol regularly and will move naked people who stray outside the nude area (marked by posts). The beach is regularly cleaned. Behind the nude section the dunes are patrolled by wardens, and there is a nture trail used by textiles.
The beach used to have a problem with inappropriate behaviour, but thankfully, the NT's policy of wardens, reducing the naturist area, and a tourist path through the problem area, has been totally successful in solving the problem.
Because of the ferry and the propensity of bored adults in families to go for a long walk, the nudist section gets a lot of passers by. However they stick to the area immediately in front of the waves and don't interfere. Although there is more seclusion in the dunes, these are perhaps best avoided - for the reasons set out below.
[Kevan comments:] "If you want a particularly pleasant piece of beach at Studland, go where I go. Knoll end of the naturist section - about 50 yards along from the posts. There you'll find nothing but folk enjoying the atmosphere, relaxing, sunbathing, and having a swim."
"... Over the years, I've introduced quite a few people to naturism at Studland ... the beach is (in my opinion) the finest in Britain ... The bay has a man-made spit across it so the water is like a lagoon, consequently it is often very warm. When the tide is right, I've known mediterranean like temperatures there."
"The naturist section has the cleanest sand and water but the sea was a little too cold for comfort.. . No problems with.... passing textile strollers who seemed disinterested in the bronzed bodies taking in yet more sun."
There are toilets and an NT-run cafe at Studland village and toilets at the car park near to the ferry.
OK. A few too many boats off shore at times, some seaweed, a non-shelving beach and no surf. The seawater meets the lower EEC Bathing Waters Directive standard. No routine sewage discharge.
Camping Facilities and Other Activities
Many who visit Studland choose to camp locally. Available sites include:
- Studland Summer Camps - just up the road from Knitson. A temporary campsite for naturists open from July to early September. "Our new gently sloping hillside location has all day sunshine and superb views of the Purbeck Hills" Cost: £10 per night, per "unit" with discounts for longer stays. Facilities: WC and shower. Restrictions: no caravans (trailer tents/ motorcaravans are OK), no singles. See the SSC Website for more details.
- Burnbake - located off the road that runs from Corfe Castle to Studland. Go along this road and turn off (left coming from Corfe) down a narrow road marked Rempstone. Follow this past Rempstone Farm and keep going for about half a mile before turning right on to unsurfaced track. Studland is about 3 miles away on foot, more or less level walking on bridleways and the [private] road to the oil jetty. A gate at the back of the campsite is a useful shortcut - turn left on the forestry track and then right when you meet the tarmac road, follow signposts for 'Ferry Road' and then left toward FRP6 .
Burnbake is a textile site and rather basic, but they do have naturist weekends and are very friendly. Nice showers (£1 for four), small on-site shop, fresh bread, croissants and Danish pastries delivered before breakfast every morning (still warm sometimes) and daily papers. Pitch where you like, woods or field, lots of nooks and crannies. Â£8 per day for car plus two adults, Â£6.50 for single backpacker. ' Burnbake have a website.
- Priestway Holiday Park "We found a really nice campsite at Priestway Holiday Park at the height of the season. No problems with finding a pitch. One large tent was £13 .... The site is in Priests Way Swanage about a 15 minute drive from Studland. This is a textile campsite but pretty laid back otherwise. On arrival we asked how long we could stay and were told "please yourself". We asked where to pitch and were told "where you like". Could we have barbecues? "if you like". We run out of questions pretty quickly and it was suggested we go and find a pitch and wander back when we were settled to pay. About two hours later we did so and were told we could use the facilities (club, bar, restuarant and for a fee the swimming pool) on the caravan van park next door. Great."
- Seacombe Horse Riding Holidays offer riding holidays with Studland Stables, including riding on Studland Beach
Aug 2013 except camping links
Tag and upload photos to the UK Naturist Beach group on Flickr. Photos should be of the beach, or show the way to it. They should NOT have people in them.
These photos, which have been tagged as 'safe', were all taken nearby.