Start of path from the number 150 Swanage to Poole bus stop on Ferry Road. This path is one of the many Fire Rescue Paths and is labelled FRP6. You can also park at either end of the beach (NT rates; free to members) and walk along the sand. The naturist area is plainly signposted. Latest rumours are that the naturist area has been expanded; also that Swanage Council are rather too keen to dish out parking tickets along Ferry Road!
Close to Poole harbour. A splendid beach backed with dunes. No facilities in the naturist area apart from the ice-cream van that trundles along in summer. Shop, café and toilets at the NT car park. Very sandy i.e. few small stones and very clean. The dark bits in the pictures are marram grass, not oil or slugs! The naturist area is clearly signposted. Hurrah! Parking about 1000 metres from the beach at the National Trust car park (about £10 - cough!) or on Ferry Road (B3351 Poole-Swanage road) by FRP6 path (about 1.4 miles from the ferry - quite visible sign) for free but get there early and be aware car thieves may be about. Alternatively the 150 Poole-Swanage bus stops on the main road by this gate, a valid option for some. (The ferry in July 2017 is £4.30, £8.60 if towing or a mere £1 for motor cycles and pedestrians, each way). Just follow the path; it leads to the middle of the naturist area. The dune area to your left is apparently a gay area.
8/10, one of the best.
Duke's Mound is a man-made beach of shingle with a bank (shingle, not the money sort) to prevent the passing public seeing exposed flesh. Jolly uncomfortable unless you are built like a mattress! Situated between the marina and pier, allegedly a 'pulling point' for those who...er... 'bat for the other side' although I have never seen anything untoward, I did get "chatted up" once though! The beach is about a mile east (i.e. with the sea on your right) of the main pier - not the burnt-out remains of the old one. Parking limited, one option is the park-and-ride from the Withdean athletic stadium. Cost around £5 return although it's quite a long journey through the houses. Or get the little Volks electric train from the main pier. It was the first in the world, apparently. The train, not the pier.
Parking is costly - at least £4.20 for 4 hours - oddly enough, closest to the beach . If you find cheaper, let me know. UPDATE July 2018 - A Brighton resident tells me parking is free at the Marina multi-storey.
6/10 Two penalty points for outrageous parking costs.
But 8/10 if you find free parking!
St. Osyth, Essex
Try saying "Essex's St. Osyth's is super" after a pint and a half of Old TangleTongue without becoming a mobile car-wash. The village is really quite quaint with a few pubs serving decent lunches. Just go through the village and follow the road through the caravan parks.The beach is under the control of Hutley's caravan site and is, really, not too bad. Years ago it had the merit of being totally driveable to - but now the road is in total disrepair. Facilities of all sorts at the park - pub, take-away, shop, amusement arcades and a pool etc. Oh and toilets!
May 2017. There used to be a charge to park but not when I went. Hooray! Be prepared for a tricky walk. over what seems to be the remains of the road. The beach itself is a mix of sand, shingle and rocks with a small grassy area. Walk past said pub (The Sailor Boy ), turn right along the path by the sea wall. There is a set of steps over the wall before the bend to the left, just before the flat roof houses - and keep walking - sea on your left - for about a mile. Don't trip over - like I did! There used to be a signpost but I reckon it met its end - as the road did - in the storms of 2003. A little too much rubbish about. Be aware the far end seems to at the attract the occasional transvestite.
At the moment the site server is not letting me post pictures where I want them. I'm working on it...in the meantime, they are in the "other" section.
6/10. Facilities nearby. A shame the road isn't still there.
Morffa Dyffryn, North Wales
Similar to Studland - big dunes and half a mile to the sea when the tide's out. There's a rail station nearby on the Harlech-Barmouth line (the nearest towns, small that they are), Ardudwy, and it's about 2 miles from here.Take your own food and drinks as always, facilities at the car park, cost in 2015 was £5 a day. There is naturist camping nearby, I hope to go again soon. Park at Benar Beach ( LL44 2RX). Walk to the sea, turn right and keep going. Well worth the walk. There are now signposts.
8/10Beautiful but 200 miles away!
Ringstead Bay, Dorset.
Top picture was when I had hair! Not "official" but well used. From the A352 Wareham-Dorchester road, take the minor road signposted "Holworth", near Owermoigne. If turning left onto this road, the corner is rather sharp! Follow the lane, turn right at the "Beach Café" sign and carry on to the end (it gets a little narrow and twisty so be aware). There's a car park (£5 a day last time I went, June 2017); a shop and café here, toilets as well. Go past the shop (on your left) to the sea, turn left. Walk about a mile, you might be the only one there! The top picture was from 2003!
The picture below I had published in the "Bare Britain" book. I haven't let the fame inflate my ego.
6/10. Facilities nearby, clean but a difficult trudge
now DANGEROUS due to cliff falls! Dated 30/9/2019.
Shame about the cliff falls, I really like it here. Anyhow...
On the south coast, between Brighton and Eastbourne. The beach is simples to find; get to East Dean and follow the sign to Birling Gap, down Gilbert Drive. (If you arrive from West Dean, there is a spectacular view of the estuary). Towards the end of the road you will see the car park in the not-too distance.
The visitor centre (Postcode BN20 0AB) has toilets, café, payphone and a post box!
The coastal path goes across the top of the cliffs, if you feel energetic, the Belle Tout lighthouse has an interesting history (that's the one on the cliff).
Just a word though - if you drive through Litlington and Friston, the country lanes are quite narrow and full of cyclists and a restaurant called "The Hungry Monk"! No idea why.
(The minimum café spend to redeem parking voucher is £10). Parking in June 2017 - £2.50 for up to 4 hours, £5 for 4 to 8 hours. The machines do not give change! If you're a National Trust member, the parking is free. We like that.
Next to the small row of cottages - soon to slide into the sea - you will see a staircase. Worry not, it's quite strong! Simply go down the steps, turn right and stagger over the potato-sized stones for about 400 yards. I first went 09/07/2015, a sizzly sunny day, the car park was pretty full but there were only eight naturists present. I like this place, just a shame it's not closer! Be aware - cliff falls are possible.
8/10. Facilities nearby, decent parking, peaceful ambience.
Bradwell-on-sea, Essex (Not Bradwell Village)
It's about 40 minutes walk from the car park at the end of Eastend (East End on the road sign) Road before the old St. Peter's chapel which is worth investigating if history is your "bag". Walk between the chapel and the black shelter building on your left and follow the grass track. You will see some concrete steps with metal hand rails near the wobbly wooden structure that was - (I think) a coastguard look-out - or a bird hide! These steps (about six) lead you to the path along the sea wall. At the end is a track (just a few yards) down to the beach. Keep going, you're almost there...
The pill-box to look for (it is not hard to find) is built into the sea wall and is opposite the middle of the grounded barges (they are there to help prevent coastal erosion) but the part of the beach we want starts opposite the final one (i.e. furthest from the Chapel) where the sea wall ends and the path starts.. I saw four people walking; I was only there for a reconnaissance mission so whether that was busy or not I cannot say. A further visit I saw nobody at all. I would suggest going at low tide; high tide would cover most of the sand judging by the sea-weed. In Eastend road is the Cricketers Pub. The Gulf garage on the corner sells petrol but no food or drinks.
OK. pictures in the wrong order but I did make a special trip today, narrowly avoiding a cloudburst! But you're sufficiently bright to link them to the relevant text, I'm sure.
6/10. An unusual location earns a bonus point, Free parking as well. Oh alright, an extra bonus point, 7/10
Botany Bay, Kent, UK
Near Broadstairs on the North East corner of Kent at the end of Botany Bay road. There is a pub nearby but I thought it a bit pricey for food. The beach is OK. I went during the school hols and the beach by the approach road was pretty full of kids & families but the naturist area was all but empty.
A walk North (i.e. left) brings you to the naturist area; just shallow dunes beneath the cliffs.
If you get to the buildings (visible in the first picture) you've gone too far.
Calshot, Hampshire, UK
Quite a good beach really. Easy to find and get to, parking, toilets and a rather amusing café that
opens and closes seemingly at a whim (but in reality 11 a.m. to at least 4 p.m. depending on weather etc.).
Mind you, the only place I have ever been that offers a choice of brown or white sugar cubes!
That alone deserves a bonus point.
From junction 2 on the M27, take the A326 south towards Fawley. Then take the B3053 to Calshot,
same road but it gets smaller. You will see the refinery and power station on your left.
At Calshot is a car park but if you go round the little one way system - turn right at the beach huts
past the café - there is some designated free parking. Great for less crowded days. From the car park,
there is a gap between the café and beach huts (some of which look quite swish with solar panels and an
upstairs!). Take that short path, turn right. I went past the impressive gates and settled by the new-ish
wooden groynes. There are some overhanging branches for shelter if needed.
Best at low tide, in my opinion..
The beach itself is mainly shingle but it's compressed so easy to walk on. There were assorted
bits of wood on the beach. All in all, I like this place. Pictures below.
Left, above is the little café and path to the beach. The café will be on your right.
Right, above, is LUTTRELL'S TOWER, owned by the Landmark Trust and is a holiday home.
Just imagine...walk out your home straight onto the beach!
Above -The view toward the beach huts, the naturist beach is now behind me. Below - a tad further on.
The horizon is level, not on the skew! I didn't notice at the time.
Parking details as at May 2016
Up to 20 hrs available, but no overnight sleeping! For that, try the free parking just past the café,
after the bend in the road on the little one-way system, or go left (sea on your right), camper vans
tend do congregate there but I don't know if there's a charge.
From the M25, take the M2, A2, A249 and the B2231. That's what my road atlas says, but B2500 say the signs. Go through the seaside town of Leysdown, follow the beach road. You will come to a junction with a WW2 sculpture on your left - rejoicing airmen - turn left and keep on this road. UPDATE MAY 2020 - The road (which I have criticised somewhat!) is now much improved! OK it's not perfect but it's quite acceptable.The beach is well signposted and has official designation from Swale Council. Hooray!
The beach is quite good really, a mixture of sand, shingle, shells, and mud at low tide; backed by shallow dunes.There is a small café a mile before the beach (re-opened 30 May 2020). Parking is free, that makes a pleasant change. The beach is backed by marshland so two points - 1. Careful where you tread, it can be a bit squishy and 2. An insect repellent might be a good idea - as with anywhere there's still fresh water. I found that going to the water's edge (away from the grass) means - no flies! Yeah!!