Dorset’s first seaweed spa opens in Studland

A new health experience is making waves on the beach at Studland, and it’s all thanks to an abundance of Purbeck’s overlooked superfood – seaweed.

Sae Seaweed began offering seaweed spa experiences at Middle Beach in early June 2024 and has already seen a huge demand for the relaxing, rejuvenating baths it offers just a stone’s throw from the sea.

Advertisement 
SAE SEAWEED

Dan and Jade Scott at the launch of their Sae Seaweed spa in Studland

A wealth of minerals and vitamins

Dan and Jade Scott who already run the outdoor company Fore / Adventure from Middle Beach had started to make use of local seaweed harvested on foraging trips to cook with and found that it not only tasted great, but also had many health benefits.

But while it is packed with vitamins from A to K, as well as iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and calcium, it also does something quite amazing when heated in water.

Seaweeds draw a wealth of minerals, vitamins and trace elements from the sea, up to 80 percent of its dry matter, and under the right conditions will produce a gel similar to aloe vera, which has been used for centuries to relieve pain, smooth skin and relax the body.

Now the couple have decided to share their passion for seaweed by opening the first seaweed spa in Dorset – and the first in England to gather its own raw materials under licence.

Situated next to Middle Beach, Studland, the seaweed spa is already attracting a lot of attention

A strong history of seaweed baths

Dan Scott said:

“On the West Coast of Ireland there’s a strong history of seaweed baths, and hydrotherapy goes back to ancient Greek and Roman baths, where there’s a long history of using hot water for its therapeutic properties.

“Early in our adventures here, I would bring back seaweed for Jade to use in our Forage and Feast events. The feedback from clients was incredibly positive, with many people being surprised at how many different species of seaweed we have and how tasty they are.

“We have a commercial seaweed foraging licence from the Crown Estate, and while part of that is for food, we had always had in mind making products or having experiences around it.

“One of our teenage daughters had eczema and my wife Jade made a cream out of seaweed to use on it which worked out surprisingly well.”

SAE SEAWEED

Rolltop baths contain water heated to 40 degrees Centigrade and a muslin bag filled with sawtooth wrack seaweed

“The first of a kind in Dorset”

Dan added:

“After that, we were keen on exploring products and started talking about wood fired baths, though the National Trust rightly had concerns about naked flames down here on the Studland peninsula.

“But then we realised we could heat the water in boilers and the National Trust suggested baths next to the beach to offer a unique experience to visitors.

“We are the first of a kind in Dorset and probably the only company in the country to offer seaweed baths which has its own seaweed foraging licence attached to it.

“What is unique for us is that I go and collect the seaweed myself, bring it back and prep it here. We are able to work in a really sustainable, artisanal way and harvest only an amount of seaweed that we know will regrow – the impact is minimal and that’s part of the appeal of the business.”

The spa is just 30 seconds from Studland’s sands and an invigorating dip in the sea

The headquarters of Fore / Adventure and Sae Seaweed are based in Middle Beach car park, Studland

Helps lower body stress

The new Sae Seaweed Spa is situated right next to the sand at Middle Beach and offers 50 minute experiences which include a foot scrub of kaolin clay and epsom salts mixed with either nettle – an astringent and excellent for dry skin – or the cooling and anti-inflammatory properties of peppermint.

A natural facemask is also provided to end the experience, with added lavender, elderflower or chamomile which have a gentle, relaxing effect on the mind and body.

But at the centre of the experience are the rolltop baths, with water heated to around 40 degrees and containing a muslin bag which is filled with sawtooth wrack seaweed.

Scientific studies have confirmed that seaweed bathing helps lower body stress and relieve skin conditions such as eczema and acne, helps to relieve muscle aches and joint stiffness, and is also excellent for some circulatory problems.

SAE SEAWEED

Harvesting seaweed beyond Old Harry is done under licence from the Crown Estate

SAE SEAWEED

Sae has a Crown Estate licence to harvest seaweed by hand between Old Harry and Portland

Passionate about wild plants

Dan Scott said:

“As it heats up, the seaweed becomes gloopy, producing something similar to an aloe vera gel which you use to rub all over your skin and over your hair, and which has wonderful moisturising properties.

“These natural oils make the bath water wonderfully rich in vitamins, nutrients and minerals which detoxify your body, reducing muscle pain and leaving your skin and hair soft, smooth and hydrated.

“Anyone who has joined us on a foraging adventure with Fore will know we are passionate about sharing our knowledge of wild plants, always looking for ways we can spread the message that plants have power.

“One of the continuing themes of our work is how to recentre the mind and body. New experiences force us to stop, and it’s difficult to use your phone in a bath, so we hope that our customers will switch off from day to day events for a while and relax.”

BBC

Dan and Jade Scott tempted BBC Countryfile presenters with seaweed meals and martinis in December 2023

Featured on BBC Countryfile

Sae also sells a range of edible seaweed products, to add flavour and a nutrition to soups, sauces, smoothies and baked foods, as sea vegetables, to add to salads or to sprinkle on meals as seasoning.

Their seaweed and three cornered leek wild pesto has already been given the seal of approval by BBC Countryfile presenters Ellie Harrison and Anita Rani during an edition of the programme filmed in Swanage and screened in December 2023.

The company has also been featured on other television programmes on foraging, including National Geographic Foraging with Gordon Ramsay, Rob and Ramesh Vs on Sky TV and on ITV’s This Morning with chef John Torode.

Enjoying the sunshine, Dan and spa assistant Abbie are ready to welcome visitors to the new seaweed spa

Further information

Share this story

Contact us

Do you have anything to add to this story?

We like to keep everything up-to-date, so if you know more, please help us by getting in touch.

Advertisement 

Top stories

Locals aim for global success in Swanage pub takeover A group of Swanage friends who liked their local pub so much that they bought the tenancy are ready to return the Globe to its former glory. 1 week ago New funfair ride divides Swanage community 2 weeks ago Swanage fun park ride removed after controversy 1 week ago Man in Swanage has jaw broken in violent assault 4 weeks ago Miracle as school pupil survives 60 foot fall from Old Harry 3 weeks ago

Most recent

Surprising success story for Studland butterflies Two species of butterfly are bucking the trend of decline in the UK by dramatically increasing their numbers on Studland Heath in Dorset - and it's partly thanks to ants! 20 mins ago Top of the crops as Purbeck fruit farm goes up for sale 1 day ago Pilgrims progress across Purbeck as murdered king is remembered 2 days ago Yacht stuck in strong ebb tide off Peveril Point rescued by RNLI 3 days ago Studland starts to plan for more flooding and coastal erosion 4 days ago