Nudists bemoan the bare state of beach

PUBLISHED: 09:20 14 March 2016 | UPDATED: 14:03 14 March 2016

The beach on the west side of Budleigh beach

The beach on the west side of Budleigh beach

Archant

‘Keep your distance or leave’ is the message from town councillors to naturists who want to move Budleigh Salterton’s nudist beach.

Budleigh Salterton beach and cliffs Budleigh Salterton beach and cliffs

Nudists have been told that they do not fit in with the town’s ‘oldy-worldy’ image after having the bare-faced cheek to ask for their site, which lies 500 metres west of Steamer Steps, to be relocated.

Naturists have laid bare their feelings over the lack of pebbles, but the plea has fallen on deaf ears with the town council.

They feel the erosion of cliffs, caused by the disappearance of the pebbles on the beach, means the shingle has disappeared quicker than their clothes do. Speaking at a recent meeting, mayor Courtney Richards said: “We never had a naturist beach in Budleigh Salterton. It was not a nudist beach, it was a beach where people could go swimming with no clothes on, come out and cover themselves up. We did not have a nudist beach and I would personally be very happy for us not have one again. We are a slightly quaint, oldy-worldy, seaside resort. We cater for families.

“I do not wish to see them encroach any further. If the beach isn’t there, it isn’t there. My view is they’ll have to go somewhere else.”

Nudists have now been told the town council does not want naked beachgoers so close to fully-clothed families enjoying the normal stretch of seafront.

Councillor Tom Wright said: “I’ve been down there, that end of the beach, and there’s been a tendency on occasion for some of the naturists to stand up and wander very close to the clothing area. So, if you’ve got families down there, they are going to be too close for comfort.”

The closest place naturists can swim in their birthday suits is Weston Mouth, near Branscombe, some 10 miles away. Rachel Wieck, 41, from Exmouth, has used that section of beach for around 10 years. She feels that, if the nudists’ site is not moved, the erosion of the cliffs could endanger the lives of tourists using the area.

“The only issue is because there is simply no beach left,” she said. “There is a massive amount of people who want to use that beach. It is a shame if this means that ultimately tourists move elsewhere.

“We have got the issue of safety - if the cliffs get undermined, the chance of rocks falling on us increases.”

East Devon District Council, which is responsible for the beach, has also been asked if the site can be moved. As a result of the weather over the winter, the sign which marks the start of the naturist beach area has fallen down and an EDDC spokesman confirmed it will look to repair it.

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