Battleaxe visits Naturist Beach

Oh no dears, don’t get excited – no pictures, no nudity even.  Scorching hot day yesterday, up to the Country Park – coffee at the Coastguards Tearooms – good sticky lemon cake, and a sighting of a green woodpecker in the garden –  then walk. 
     We like the Country Park but it does have some wind-pipe bursting climbs.  We decided to explore and see if we could reach the beach by Fairlight Glen, despite the notices saying access was ‘not advised’.

View down from the cliffs….

     We knew it was a semi-official Naturist Beach, so it was no surprise to see quite a few folk enjoying the sun when we eventually scrambled down a very steep path and some rickety steps to the shore.  The beach is a mixture of sand and stones, but it looked lovely – warm, sheltered and peaceful.Access to the sea looked a bit rocky – you’d need swimming shoes. Do naturists wear even those?
      I suggested to the Philosopher that we might strip off and stay for a while.  We were tempted, but we had our walking gear on, no water, and nothing to sit on.  We thought we might return another day with lots of sunblock and a picnic.
     As we dragged ourselves, puffing and panting, back up the precipice we met a bloke carrying his bike down to the beach. We reflected that dedicated Naturists must be very determined. It is a long walk from the road, hard to find the place, and a punishing climb in reverse.  Some of the sunbathers (and it was hard to tell without actually looking, which one doesn’t like to do…) did not appear to be young….
    As we puffed up the steep slope past the Dripping Well we thought about how Victorian walkers must have been equally determined.  I read that the place, and the nearby Lovers’ Seat, was a favoured Romantic destination.  Imagine those ladies, presumably wearing whalebone stays and leather button boots, dragging yards of long black bombazine skirt through the brambles.   Here they are below. No nice footpaths tended by Park Rangers back then.

     Here is another picture of Lovers’ Seat from 1925. I see there are proper steps then. Of course, the whole thing has now disappeared, finally falling into the sea in the 1970s.  I guess this is partly why people are discouraged from visiting the beach – the path disappears at intervals.

     We are off to Cornwall for a week tomorrow.  Shame we will miss the opening of the Jerwood Gallery – I am looking forward to seeing it.  Am not sure about the Admissions Price policy – it is good to have such a reduction for Hastings residents but presumably the whole point of the thing is to attract more visitors from outside the town. Anyway, we will see….

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