Naked will make us damned, say Welsh

The inhabitants of a Welsh seaside resort are fingering their net curtains in nervous anticipation of new signposts bearing the dread words: traeth noethlymunwyr.

They translate as "nudist beach" and, if Gwynedd county council's executive committee approves, will soon mark out the village of Morfa Dyffryn, near Harlech, as the site of Wales's first - and Britain's 11th - official naturist haunt.

The length and beauty of Morfa Dyffryn's beach have long made it an unofficial nudist colony and as many as 200have been known to congregate here on hot bank holidays.

The British Naturism organisation has asked the council for an officially recognised section of beach but the plans to formalise matters have not been greeted warmly. One Labour councillor, Owen Edwards, spoke for many this week when he warned that the village, between Harlech and Barmouth, could become a "Welsh Soho".

Mr Edwards told a council meeting: "The numbers coming to this particular beach in the nude will increase dramatically and that has serious implications." Another councillor, Linda Wyn Jones, even raised the prospect of the beach attracting paedophiles.

Though naturism seems to be shedding its eccentric image -- 25,000 people are now dedicated enthusiasts in the UK - Morfa Dyffryn would become the first official site to be established since the years 1976 to 1980, when by-laws permitted the practice on 10 beaches.

The Welsh will take some persuading and to assuage their fears a council committee has voted to designate the beach for a 12-month trial period. Mr Williams said: "They'll look at it again then to ensure nobody does anything stupid. We're hoping for the best."