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Stay Out Of The Dunes – Stay On The Beaches


Stay Out Of The Dunes – Stay On The Beaches


Sand Dunes and the impact of humans.

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Around the world, coastal dunes fringe thousands of kilometres of coastline and due to the activities of human, they are eroding. The Coastal dunes need to have limited interaction with humans in order for their protection and survival.


How are Coastal Dunes Formed?


Dunes are formed when wind transports sand into a sheltered area beyond the beach. The dunes are made up of continuous, hummocky hills of sand that are held together by specially adapted sand dune vegetation.

The sand itself is deposited into the ocean through land erosion. Sand is formed as rocks break apart into smaller pieces inland and are brought down to the coast by rivers. Waves wash this sand up onto the beach, but can also remove it during storms. Coastal sand is also formed by waves eroding the shoreline over thousands of years and also breaking down marine animals and adding them to the mix.

During the winter, stronger waves pick up more sand, causing the beach to be steeper and coarser. In summer, gentle waves transport sand onshore and the beach takes on a shallower slope with finer sand.


What is Happening to our Dunes?

Around the world, coastal dunes are eroding and under pressure due to increased sediment loss because of coastal human activities, for example, in the last 30 years, mainly because of tourism, nearly 75% of the Mediterranean’s coastal dunes have been damaged or destroyed.

Does that really matter? Yes, it really does!


Why are Dunes so Important?


For Our Land and Communities:


Sand dunes are an important part of the coast as they are land’s first defence against the forces of the ocean. They protect inland areas from coastal water intrusion. They are able to absorb the impact and act as a resilient barrier to the destructive forces of the wind and waves. They prevent water from flooding coastal towns. They help diminish potential shoreline erosion. These natural barriers allow living and farming along some coastline to be possible.



For Our Fauna and Flora:




When plants colonize dunes, their roots and stems help to anchor and stabilize the shifting sand, preventing them from eroding during a storm.

The structure of plant stems and leaves create small pockets of protection from the wind, causing more sand to accumulate. Sand dunes undergo a continual cycle of erosion and growth with the wind and waves. The types and density of vegetation in the dunes are indicators of the age and length of stability of the dunes. Grasses may be established within a season, but shrubs take 10 to 20 years to become established, and decades, even centuries, are required to grow a maritime forest.


When misuse of the dunes causes damage; overall erosion of the beach and loss of dunes can occur. This leaves a shoreline much more vulnerable to destruction from storms. Some of the plants and flowers that grow in sand dunes include: pink sand verbena, white dune evening primrose and yellow sunflower. Shrubs are also well suited for dune life, and many animals rely on bushes like mesquite, creosote bush and desert buckwheat for shade and shelter.





Dunes provide habitat and crucial nesting area for threatened and endangered species. Tertiary vegetation zones often develop into thick forests, woodlands, wetlands and heaths which provide a habitat for many species to thrive. Hundreds or even thousands of types of insects make their habitats in sand dunes. Beetles, moths, wasps, flies, crickets and spiders all live in the sand. Many of these insects prey on each other as well as feed on dune vegetation. Sand snakes and lizards also call sand dunes home. These reptiles burrow rapidly through the sand, an action known as sand swimming. Certain rodents also can live in sand dunes and create complicated burrows within the dunes, emerging to feed on the seeds and leaves of dune plants.



For Beach Visitors:


The existence of dunes has a huge impact on the enjoyment of a beach. Adding to the overall ambience. Sitting on a beach with the dunes behind and the ocean in front is part of the natural joy of being by the sea. The dunes can protect you from inland wind, views, noise and smells. They add a feeling of security leaving the beach literally less exposed. The movement of the grass adds life. The scent from vegetation and the flight of birds, the myriad of colours, the sound of the insects – all add to the positive experience of being by the sea-side.


Staying out of the dunes doesn't just protect the dunes but also the humans that go into them. Some of the flora and fauna within the dunes can leave you bitten, infected and give you rashes and diseases.


Let us not forget that without them some of these beaches just wouldn't exist for visitors at all. At least not in a natural form. We would have to rely on man-made and often ugly and invasive ways to maintain a usable beach.



For Naturism:


Let us as naturists encourage everyone to stay out of the dunes.


We do not want to be spied on by those people who furtively hide in the dunes popping up like meerkats every few minutes to check out the beach.


We do not want to be associated with or encourage those that head into the dunes for individual sexual kicks or sexual encounters.


We do not want to see such inappropriate behaviour by walking through the dunes ourselves or allow our children to see it, or to look up from the beach and see someone in the dune looking down on the beach while pleasuring themself.


By genuine and respectful naturists staying out of the dunes we alienate these furtive users of the dunes and make them stand out for what they are. We distance ourselves from them and push them into a smaller minority. Maybe in the long run encouraging them to stop altogether. While encouraging textiles to trust the idea naturism and hopefully give it a go. We should show the textiles that doubt naturism where we stand. That we are just as much against sexual behaviour in the dunes as textiles are.


We have seen some people lie naked in the dunes then dress for their walk on the beach for a swim to then return to the dunes and strip off. If you are a little too nervous to be seen naked in the open of the beach then work at getting over it. Don't worry, no one on a naturist beach judges the bodies of others or makes them feel uncomfortable. It is much better to embrace naturism and feel the freedom and the positive strength that it gives you.


By all naturists coming out of the dunes and being on the beach we also show our true numbers. The more naturists are seen to be using a beach the more acceptable and established it becomes and the more likely others will follow suit.


By hiding away we are not positively promoting our naturism to others. We are instead encouraging others to believe that our nudity or possibly our behaviour is shameful.


What can we do to help?

Stay off the dunes and stay on the beach. Don't climb over fenced or roped off areas.

Follow the information given by signs.

Do not throw rubbish, tyres or other debris on the dunes, they do not degrade, are hazardous and look unsightly.

Keep boats off of the dunes: In some coastal towns, it is common practice for property owners to drag their boats over the dune or to store their boats on top of the dune.

Keep pets on leads and don't allow them to run free into the dunes and clean up after them.

Leave wildlife alone.

Don't light barbecues or fires in the dunes.

Keep to official paths, viewing platforms and raised walkways.


Walking, sunbathing or playing on sand dunes compacts the soil and gives less oxygen, which reduces plant growth and makes it even more difficult for plants to recover. It takes only a few footsteps to damage the extensive root system of beach grass, and when that happens, the plant can no longer hold sand in place. Over time, the dune and all its benefits will be lost.


As naturists, we want to show how trustworthy and caring we are. We have no need to hide. We have no want to cause damage. Let us lead by example by protecting our beaches, our environment and our reputation.

Thanks for reading - Anna and Steve


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Anna and Steve have shared over 150 articles and blog posts on and write regularly for naturist publications. If you would like to collaborate with them on any naturist / nudist promotional activity or quote from any of their work please contact them via email at [email protected]