Studland Bay: Naturists and Snakes

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I always knew there were naturists in Studland. It’s not a problem with me; I believe that we should be free to live our lives as we choose, without hurting others. Last year, a little reticent but bolstered by my assurances, my girlfriend agreed to walk with me along a path towards the beach.

“The naturists,” I comforted her, “are two hundred yards that way.”

Before the words, “trust me”, had barely left my lips, we strode across the hot sand, dragging rugs and chairs and stamping our feet to dissuade the adders of this arid landscape, home to all six of Britain’s native reptile species.

“Snakes! You didn’t tell me that before!” A voice trailed behind.

“The nearest rattlesnake is behind two inch glass in London Zoo.” I offered, quite convincingly.

Half a mile later, I was left red-faced as a man, dressed in a Gore-Tex walking jacket and rucksack, but who appeared to have left his trousers at home (or on the beach!) casually ambled across the path ahead, before scuttling quickly into the dunes, vanishing like a lizard.

For a moment I wondered if she would ever trust me again, as we hunted for another way to the sea…

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Sixteen months later we returned to the bay. Parking at Knoll Beach (£4 a day, free to National Trust members) we lugged the kayak and gear to the water’s edge. High pressure brought dense fog to the coast, so we waited a couple of hours for it to clear, shivering on the beach as local children got themselves thoroughly soaked.

Our plan was to kayak north, away from wasps and crowds to a more deserted spot, just shy of the naturist beach.

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Those who venture on the ocean see the land flawlessly, like the view from an aeroplane, and we spotted a perfect, empty patch of sand.

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I decided to explore further on my SUP, away from the shore, in my own world, beyond the edge of England; with the comforting certainty that there was no-one else around.

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It seems I am not alone in my desire for solitude with the sea.

On a lonely yacht anchored in deep water, diving for his cabin was the pink flash of a man with no clothes on. I suppose he wasn’t expecting someone to ghost by on a paddleboard, at the perfect height to see over his cockpit coaming.

There would appear to be two types of naturists. The rich ones, anchored in Bayliners and Sunseekers, and those who just have to make do with the beach.

And what a beach it is. A metaphysical realm of three elements: sand, sea and sky.

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4 thoughts on “Studland Bay: Naturists and Snakes

  1. I am always wondering what English people make a fuss about being naked. I am a German risen in Sweden and now living at Norfolk coast for more than 30 years. Well, in Germany in summer time it is normal seeing naked folks in the big city parks and in Sweden you have even a right to be naked. But I have to say the nicest and biggest beaches here in North Norfolk are naturalist beaches but I always have to smile when people see it as something special. I think it`s normal. Is this the so called “English prudishness” going back to the Puritans? But, well, I am psychoanalyst by trade and should be happy about this attitude providing me with patients 😉 Unfortunalely I don`t work as a therapist but as an author …
    Anyway I like you post.
    All the best from
    Klausbernd

  2. Hi Klausbernd, thanks for your comment. The difference in cultural attitudes towards nakedness and naturism between Britain and mainland Europe is very interesting. I think naturism is considered to be quite a niche activity here and only really takes place on isolated beaches like Studland-it’s yet to catch on in town centres! You are very lucky to live on the Norfolk Coast, which is a beautiful part of the world.

  3. Let’s hope the Brits come to their senses. Swimming naked is so very different and such a blessing. It’s desperately sad that few of us have experienced the luxurious wrap of cold water around wholly bare flesh…

  4. Thanks for your comment, swimminghappyinmyskin. I’ve heading to Cornwall next week so may have the opportunity to visit a new naturist beach. Thanks also for mentioning my blog on your site, much appreciated 🙂

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