CALLS have been made to turn Barrow’s secluded beaches into a nudist hotspot.

Around a dozen naturists did away with their shorts, t-shirts and dresses as they stripped to their birthday suits at an organised event at Roanhead Beach.

The nudists were also seen topping up their tans on nearby Walney Beach.

The event has sparked a debate over whether Cumbria could capitalise on a tourism boom by hosting more events.

The idea was floated by Ron O’Hare, a semi-retired window cleaner, who has been practicing naturism for over 20 years.

He said: “I think naturism would be good for Cumbria tourism and if there were more designated areas, it would bring in more tourists to the area.

“There are a lot more naturists in Cumbria than people think. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many designated areas to go in the county.”

But South Walney Councillor, Helen Wall, fears naturist activities in Walney may disturb local people and wildlife.

She said: “Walney is not the best place to be walking around naked because it is so open and you can see other people for miles. If you’re trying to find a secluded spot where there aren’t many people, you might frighten the wildlife which I would object to.

“You can also end up upsetting people, it can be quite offensive.

“It doesn’t particularly offend me but I can see how it might offend some people."

Cllr Wall hopes the area does not turn into a hotspot for naturists.

She said: “I would rather hope it wouldn’t turn into a hotspot. It’s not a very secluded area and the only places which are would disturb the wildlife.

“I’m sure there’s no great harm in it and perfectly respectable, pleasant people partake.

“It would be nice for them to have somewhere to go.”

Despite its controversy, it is not an offence to be naked in public in England and Wales but it does become an offence if it can be proved the person stripped off with the intention to upset and shock.

Legally, any person is allowed to sunbathe naked on any beach, however, good beach etiquette would mean sticking to designated nudist beaches.

Haverigg Beach in Millom and Wigton Swim in Carlisle are the only two listed sites to attend communal naturist events in Cumbria.

Mr O’Hare leads the naturist events in the county, which include beach days, walks and skinny dipping, and has urged naturists to remove their clothes in a safe environment.

He said: “We always try to keep on the side of the general public.We never want to cause alarm or distress.

“If we’re on a walk, we always have a kilt attached to us just in case we see a family to avoid any distress. It’s a very liberating activity. It helps with body confidence and self esteem and is a safe place where you won’t be judged. People from all walks of life come along - everyone is equal.”