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This year I had an unexpected opportunity to spend some alone time on Studland Beach in Dorset, UK. This is probably one of the most famous nude beaches in England, and is on one of the most gorgeous stretches of coastline in the country. It starts somewhere near the chain ferry that joins Sandbanks to the Studland Peninsula and carries on until about halfway towards the National Trust beach car park just south of Studland village.
The beach itself is one long unbroken stretch of sand, backed by dunes, heather, gorse, and places to wander and look at the wildlife. It is one of my favourite places to be, and somewhere that anyone who wants to find out about getting naked should visit at least once. Whenever I am in the area I head down there, and somehow I have always managed to get naked regardless of the weather - although a couple of times in winter it has been little more than a quick strip to say I had done it!
This year I went down in the second week of September and so it was right at the tail end of the holiday season. The schools had mostly gone back after the summer break and everything was a lot quieter than it would have been only a week or two earlier. For anyone who likes their beaches quiet, this is a perfect time of year to pay the place a visit.
I was based in Knoll House Hotel which is only.a few minutes walk from the car park. It was the first time I had stayed there so I was not sure how long it would take to get down to the nude part of the beach walking along the shoreline, as I usually park further down towards the chain ferry and use a little path that cuts through the dunes and woodland before emerging near the middle of the nude section. But as I was staying so close to the end of the beach I decided to walk from there, and in well under ten minutes I was down on the beach and looking at a couple of miles of unbroken sand.
It took exactly fifteen minutes to walk from the shop to the start of the nude section, and as soon as I reached the sign I stripped off. I rolled my clothes and shoes into a ball, tucked them in the grass up on the dunes, and started to walk along the edge of the water.
That section of beach is a popular walking route from the chain ferry along to Studland village, and you regularly get loads of people walking there on their way to or from the other side. This means that one minute you will be completely alone on the beach or maybe with a few other similarly naked beach users, and the next minute you will find yourself in with a group of fully dressed walkers on their way to somewhere. And the really cool thing about Studland? No-one cares. Just like anywhere else and in any other situation you sometimes find that the people walking past ignore you, and sometimes that they stop and have a chat. You can be the only naked one in a group of clothed, or you can be surrounded by naked people with a clothed person walking through the middle. And pretty much no-one find this even slightly odd or unusual, which is what makes that place so special to me.
The nude part of the beach felt a bit bigger this year than it was the last time I walked its length (they do occasionally move the boundary markers, so this is entirely possible) so it takes about half an hour to walk directly from one end to the other and back again. This can of course take a lot longer if you wander up into the dunes or stop to talk to anyone, so at least twice a day I would walk down to the beach, tuck my stuff in a dune, and spend an hour or so walking up and down that stretch of coast. And it was glorious.
The weather was warm and sunny for most of the time I was there, but on the last day the clouds came over and there was some rain. It was still warm enough for a naked walk though, so that morning I went down as usual to see what it was like. The beach itself was just as it had been the day before, but for the first time that I can remember it was completely deserted. At the farthest point of the nude beach from the car park I stopped and looked back along the length of the coast and I don't think I could see a single other person. It was wonderful, and I spent an hour or so in and out of the sea before walking back.
Those few days at Studland were a great way to end the summer, and I will be going there and getting naked again as soon as possible.
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