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Home Canterbury News Article
Hollywood star Hayley Atwell has caused a Twitter stir after joking it was a "shame" naturists were not welcome on a Whitstable beach.
The Captain America actress tweeted a picture of Long Rock in Swalecliffe with a council notice stating naturism was not condoned.
The British star, who also appeared alongside Ray Winstone and Plan B in action flick The Sweeney, posted: "Oh. That's a shame. I love standing naked on a British beach in winter. Who doesn't?"
The comments received more than 30 retweets from her followers and were also made a favourite by 66 users.
She later tweeted she was being sarcastic when questioned if she was serious about her views on naturism.
Naturist-friendly websites say signs dissuading people from using the beach were built after "morons" offended walkers passing along a nearby footpath.
Oh. That's a shame. I love standing naked on a British beach in winter. Who doesn't? pic.twitter.com/RYbd2C5CaP— Hayley Atwell (@HayleyAtwell) January 13, 2014
The Walking Club, which promotes hikes in London and the south east, also gives tips from visiting nudists about the best places to hang loose.
One said: "I visited Long Rock last year and found a few men who had dug out the shingle to lay in.
"One chap was very pleasant and helpful and told me about discretion and a good place to settle, but another came over soon after and was very nasty, saying they did not want 'intruders' there."
They added: "I just wanted a quiet place with my book and to enjoy a bit of sunshine for an hour or so but felt intimidated and left.
"I guess if more people use this, rather like Botany Bay, it will keep it established for future use by like-minded folk. I do intend to visit again."
Another was pleased "unpleasant" smells caused by the sewage works no longer wafted onto the beach.
Swalecliffe councillor Ian Thomas said naturists were known to meet under a 12ft bank away from public view, but added no concerns had been raised for about seven years.
He said: "I go down there with the dogs very regularly and I haven't seen anyone who has concerned me for years.
"Mind you, I don't go looking for them."
British Naturism spokesman Brian Taylor said it is perfectly legal to strip off on any public beach - provided it does not cause alarm or distress.
He said: "If there is a section of Long Rock beach that is normally quiet then it is very likely that it will have been used by naturists at some time.
"Sadly it can only take one complaint from a prudish person for council officials to believe that they 'must do something' so notices may appear.
"At least the notice says 'not condoned', which doesn't mean it cannot be practised.
"Some councils make the mistake of attempting a ban, which is strictly illegal, unlike the naturism in the first place."
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