Naturism; to say it is a taboo topic in the UK would be an understatement. Although the majority of Europe is very accepting of a spot of summer nudity, the UK has failed to follow suit. Us Brits are a little more prudish than the rest of our continent, but this may be about to change.
Studland Beach has taken the decision to extend their nudist beach by a huge 50m, in an attempt to meet popular demand. Does this mean that the British population are beginning to embrace the European trend? It certainly looks that way.
This particular beach is the best known official naturist beach in the UK, and the popular demand has meant that the National Trust have had to find a solution to the popularity problem.
The extension was aided by the Studland Beach Users Action Group, which was set up in 2005 to improve the tourist experience. This has now taken on a whole new meaning.
A changing perception
Nudism in Studland is perceived as no more unusual than walking your dog or riding horses; its common practice and the National Trust are proud that their beach is so well loved and sought after.
Emma Wright is the Beach Operations Manager at Studland Beach, and says that there was no reason why they shouldn’t expand the beach given the huge demand.
“I think over time there are more users of that particular area and it’s the loveliest part of the beach, so I think a lot of people are going out and using it because they like the amenity of it. I hope that people will feel more relaxed on the beach. It’s an area that naturists have used over the years anyway, so this will legitimise what they’ve been doing.”
The expansion has received a fantastic public reception, with one excited Twitter user Tweeting:
“Studland beach just got bigger. British nudists rejoice!”
The National Trust appear to have more support than ever with this expansion, and people from miles away travel to Studland every year for a place where they can be open and in a truly relaxed environment.
There are common problems that do arise with extending a naturist beach; with nudism being a slightly controversial topic in the UK, many residents of Studland and holiday makers are likely to be unimpressed by the decision to expand.
Emma Wright stated that although there are likely to be occasional complaints, they will do their best to accommodate everyone.
“We will never please everybody; we don’t intend to do that. It’s exactly the same as any other user group.”
With that being the case, it would seem that the invitation to the Studland Naturist Beach is open for people from all walks of life. The National Trust are hoping that people will eventually be able to use the beach without a division for the naturist groups, but this seems a little way off yet.
It is safe to say that Studland is well and truly ahead of the game in terms of modern behaviour and eradicating Britain of its preconceptions. The little extra breathing space is set to give the naturist community all the space they need to enjoy their hobby, and Studland is officially a success in terms of breaking social barriers.
The occasional issue
There are, however, other issues that arise from naturist beaches. With there being some issues with indecent exposure in the past, there is always a risk that someone will take the freedom that Studland Beach provides a little too far.
The National Trust hopes that the expansion of the beach will not encourage exposure crimes, but simply give people more space to relax.
A spokesperson for the Trust says that they are hoping that the change will make no difference to the number of yearly exposures.
“I would hope it wouldn’t increase the number of exposures. We have had incidents in the past but I don’t think that what we’ve done is going to mean any increases.”
These concerns are minimal, as the number of reported allegations has dropped from 37 in 2003, to a minimal five last year. These people are well and truly in the minority, and therefore the police, National Trust, local councils and many other contributors to the Studland Beach Users Action Group feel like the extension of the land will be a huge asset to the beach itself, and promote a freer lifestyle.
For more information, visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/studland-beach/naturism-at-studland/
By Lauren Anthony