Saturday, 16 April 2011


In Kingdom By The Sea, a book by the American writer Paul Theroux describing a tour around the British coast, he describes with some distaste how he came face to face with a naked person while walking along the dunes at Studland Beach. What he apparently failed to realise was that the northern part of Studland Beach contains one of the country’s premier “naturist beaches”, and in fact there is a sign warning approaching “clothed people” that they may encounter naturists here. This must provide an interesting ending for those who have trekked the 630 miles of the magnificent South-West Coast Path from Minehead – Studland is the other terminus of the route. Fans of the rock band Coldplay may or may not be aware that the video for the song Yellow was filmed on Studland Beach.

The path heading out of Studland village towards Swanage rises gently up to an area of rough heathland leading to a headland from which the chalk sea stacks of Old Harry Rocks can be observed. Harry, named after an infamous pirate called Harry Paye according to a local legend, used to have a “wife”, a smaller seastack, but she collapsed in 1896. The rocks make a perfect base for colonies of breeding sea birds, and peregrine falcons can also be found here. Further round on this path there are magnificent views over the bay at Swanage.

Map of the area.

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Old Harry Rocks. Photo by Gary Radford, via Wikimedia Commons

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