From wartime defence to naturism battleground

PIC: Gary Longbottom
PIC: Gary Longbottom
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From the first line of defence against a potential German invasion to becoming a more recent battleground over whether naturism should be allowed; it is fair to say Fraisthorpe Beach, near Bridlington, has a fascinating past.

Pillboxes were built along the East Coast in a bid to prevent enemy forces landing during both world wars, with the concrete blocks arranged to prevent tanks leaving the beach and restricting their movement on it.

While coastal erosion means the front line defence at Fraisthorpe have disappeared, the rear line remains intact to this day.

Fortunately the defences
were never required in
wartime and in recent years
the beach has become more widely associated with a much less serious spat over the practice of naturism.

In 1980, the beach was designated as a naturist area
but after concerns about
acts of indecency during
the 1990s, the designation
was rescinded by the local authority.

Years of rows between naturists and the authorities followed and in 2003, a police helicopter was called out to tannoy nudists to tell them to put their clothes back on following a complaint from a member of the public.

Five years later in 2008, members of Fraisthorpe United Naturists complained East Rising Council had put up “misleading” signs which they said suggested nude sunbathers could face prosecution. According to current Crown Prosecution Service guidance, “a balance needs to be struck between the naturist’s right to freedom of expression and the right of the wider public to be protected from harassment, alarm and distress”.

But while Fraisthorpe Beach can still be found listed as a potential place to visit on naturist websites, controversy has faded.

Earlier this year, it received a Seaside Award for meeting the very highest standards for cleanliness and facilities.

Technical information: Nikon D3s camera, ISO 320, 24-70mm lens at 28mm with exposure of 1/250th sec at f16.