Monica Dyson: Living as nature intended is still popular

Naturism remains alive and well in Britain.

Naturism remains alive and well in Britain.

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There must have been a few double takes the other week when a naked man was spotted wandering about in Sheffield and it certainly seems to have stopped the traffic before he was taken into custody by police.

I also read that the Ukip leader Nigel Farage knocked at one door when he was out on the election trail to be greeted by a young woman who was completely naked. (Gosh, she must have had a shock.)

And although it was some time ago, White House usher Skip Allen tells of the time he delivered a message to President Ronald Reagan to find him wandering around in the buff. This was something he did all the time apparently, but at least just in the White House, thank goodness.

Nudism and naturism is definitely alive and well. And it can be closer than you think.

A friend living in Doncaster has expressed concern that a farm in Wroot is holding the sixth Nudestock event this month which is certified by the Camping and Caravanning Club. However it seems harmless.

I read a quote recently by someone who said: “Why are most nudists people you wouldn’t want to see naked?” Perhaps a little unfair and unkind. However, if you happen to live in Spielplatz in Hertfordshire, which is a sleepy little village near Bricket Wood, and a unique one, although in the heart of the London commuter belt, you will mostly only see people in the nude, whether you like the look of them or not. Founded by Charles Macaskie in 1929 when it bought the land for £500, it has 34 bungalows for permanent residence and another 24 for holiday lets.

Although strictly speaking you don’t have to be a naturist to live there, it is unlikely that you would be able to buy a house if you are not.

Its previous inhabitants have included Ross Nichols who was a founder member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, and Gerald Gardner who established a coven at Bricket Wood in development of the Wicca Religion.

The first naturist club in the UK opened in Essex in 1924 and by 1942 there were a number of ‘sun clubs’ and the inception of the British Sunbathers Association which, by 1964 became The Central Council for British Naturists.

There are still naturist beaches around the UK. Brighton made seaside history in 1980 when the first public nudist beach was opened within easy walking distance of the town centre.

There has been nude bathing on Fraisthorpe Sands near Bridlington for even longer than that, until, in 1998 the local council erected notices banning it. A further sign said that ‘Any person committing an act of indecency will be liable to prosecution’.

The Fraisthorpe United Naturists complained that the signs were grossly insulting and insinuating that naturists were perverts. The signs were removed and naturists continued to use the sands.