As part of NAG’s campaign for the acceptance of naturism in London, on 7 July, Richmond Park was the location for a naturist picnic. Keith Palmer gives this report:
“Peter and I met Steve at the information kiosk at Richmond Station as the sun emerged from behind the drizzly morning clouds and a fine afternoon seemed in prospect. We waited 15 minutes to see if any others turned up but no-one else appeared, possibly put off by the poor weather earlier. As we three ascended Richmond Hill we looked down upon a super view of the river curving away into the distance.
“In the park we found a sunny glade among scattered mature oaks to make our encampment. We stripped off and settled down to our picnics. We were positioned discreetly but certainly not hidden. A number of cyclists and dog walkers passed by, clearly noticing us but making no comment either negative or positive. I think we can take that as acceptance?
“The turn-out of three was distinctly disappointing, given the improvement in the weather after midday. Many thanks to Steve for guiding us across the sandy paths of the park to a suitable spot.”
Yet another indication that the NAG hard work, along with BN over six-years, on getting a better awareness of the legitimacy of naturism paid off. That work led to new guidance from the CPS in 2013 and the College of Policing in 2018. Police officers, court prosecutors and open space managers now realise that public nudity by naturists is not illegal.
Having established naturism as a legitimate activity on Hampstead Heath, NAG is currently looking at other open spaces and parks around London where naturism may take place. It is important not to rely on advance weather forecasts, when a day may instead turn out sunny.
Unless it is clearly unsuitable weather, NAG will always check at the meeting point on the day. If you would like to be part of future NAG activity in Hampstead Heath contact Chris Lamb at email@example.com.
Women who would like to join action at Hampstead Heath Ladies Pond should contact Louise Ponting through www.naturistwomen.org. For Richmond Park contact Steve Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For other enquiries on NAG London activities contact me at email@example.com.
Today, we are publishing the 2019 edition of our Annual Report giving an overview of efforts to get naturism as an accepted lifestyle in the year up to 28th February 2019. In our opinion, we had a good year, but we know we could have had a better one. If you wish to see NAG’s good year continue, please donate whatever you can to us, or you might like to consider volunteering to be a part of our Press and Media Group? Details of how to do either is on our website and in the Annual Report respectively.
Jordi Casamitjana is taking the League of Cruel Sports to an Employment Tribunal claiming that his dismissal by them was due to him being a vegan, which they deny. I won’t repeat all the details about the case here; you can go to the BBC News website for that. What Mr Casamitjana is saying, is that his brand of veganism, which he calls ethical veganism, is a matter of ‘belief and effects every single aspect of (his) life.’
The tribunal next March will have to decide, therefore, is veganism a philosophical belief and protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. If they say it is, it could mean others with equally deep rooted beliefs could seek similar protection.
Is naturism a philosophical belief though? For some it might be but how prevalent is it among naturists? We don’t know but we might get a clue from the Survey of UK Naturism. We have had a stunning start, with over 300 respondents already by last Monday (3rdDecember) and I was wondering if we could make it 500-plus by the end of the Month? There is still plenty of time for anyone who hasn’t already completed it, a nice 30-minute break from madcap Christmas preparations, perhaps. And don’t forget to remind your naturist family and friends to complete it too.
5th December 2018
Eight years ago, when we launched Naturist Action Group, we had two aims; to campaign for the lifestyle’s wider acceptance and to represent a broad range of views within UK Naturism. We thought we had a reasonable grasp of the issues involved, and we had the beginnings of a plan.
Today though, NAG is announcing what will arguably be its biggest project to date, it is an attempt to learn more about UK naturism, the opinions of naturists in this country to find out how we think collectively. Let me ask the question that must be forming on your lips by now: Why?
In part it is in response to Rayner Otter, who last year wrote an essay [H&E Naturist, March 2017] about what he saw as the future of naturism following his nine-years of observing the European naturist scene. You could say, I’m putting my money where my mouth is, for I argued that naturism didn’t need conclusions based on observation but from robust research [H&E Naturist, July 2017]. To be fair, Rayner responded generously saying he too agreed with the premise. However, as a British-based organisation we are chiefly concerned about UK naturism, so the survey we shall be conducting will be restricted to those living in the United Kingdom, or British nationals living abroad while maintaining strong links with the UK.
The other part is that it’s really time we took a look at ourselves; are we serving naturism and naturists well? Are the things we think we know, accurate. Could we do things differently, better, smarter? And finally, can we describe the British person attracted to the lifestyle in any detail?
These are our goals and while I cannot promise we will achieve all of them perfectly we shall, with your help, make a good attempt.
This survey is for anyone 18-years and over, so married couples or co-habiting partners can complete separate questionnaires, as can any adult children. Once you have completed the survey, please share this post on social media, or by whatever means is available to you, with your naturist friends and family, encouraging them to complete it too. We want as many replies as possible, from the young and old, male or female, Black, Brown or White, computer savvy or not. The more replies we get, from as broad a spectrum of society as possible, the more accurate the survey will be.
UK NATURISM SURVEY— Closing date for replies: 31/12/2018.
If online forms are not your forte then we have a Word document (.docx) that can be used either as an editable electronic document on your desk top or printed, to be used as a paper survey. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “Survey” in the subject line and you will receive a reply within 24hours. Or send a self-addressed envelope (DL or C5) with a first- or second-class stamp to: UK Naturism Survey, c/o Reg Barlow, 6 Brunswick Street, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 4PL and a pre-printed paper survey will be posted to you. Surveys returned by post and postmarked 31/12/2018 will be accepted. Just follow the instructions provided.
Many thanks for your co-operation, and don’t forget to share.
18 November 2018
Last October, the members of the Management Collective (ManCol for short) met in Worcestershire to discuss progress. Our friends in London have made excellent progress following the guidance published by the College of Policing on public nudity. We also discussed an advanced version of the proposed Survey of UK Naturism, which will be launched later this year.
By all means read the minutes in full.
One of the most popular posts we’ve had on NAG’s Facebook page, if not THE most popular, has been an article from The Guardian. When I last looked, almost 3,100 people had seen it, liked by 30 and shared by 11.
It’s a short piece, so I’ll let you read it, if you haven’t already done so, but essentially Andrew Welch, described as a spokesperson for British Naturism, did what he does best; communicate what it’s like to be a naturist, using words like “free” and “liberated”. Only I’m not really certain which words are his and which belong to journalist Emine Saner, who wrote it — Shortcuts is an opportunity for The Guardian’s writers to reflect on the news. With this hot weather we’re having (now seemingly broken alas), it’s possible that more people than ever have kept cool by not wearing clothes, and may have even ventured into the garden for a spot of nude sunbathing, hence the “recent police advice about warning your neighbours if you’re going to sunbathe naked in your garden….”
Good general advice, saves on the arguments later, but how do you start that conversation when people believe being nude in public is antisocial, if not illegal?
Anyway, the article goes on: “All beaches are technically naturist beaches, but naturists tend to go to specific places where they know they will find others and which are hassle free.” Not entirely true, but we shall let that pass. What does that word ‘technically’ mean? The adjective of technical, in a legal sense, it means “an exact understanding of the rules or facts”. Then why are our public authorities determined to maintain the idea that nudity on public beaches is not allowed, even illegal, on the pretext that it’s a family beach. There is no such category as a family beach; all beaches are family beaches, it matters not what the family is wearing, if anything.
Another article, published recently in London’s The Evening Standard, by writer Radhika Sanghani gave a good account of why she has turned to naturism and the nude beaches of Barcelona, where she is spending the summer. What Sanghani found was that the locals would think nothing of stripping off on their balconies for a siesta or to sunbath, or to skinny dip mid-hike in a stream. No one around her looked like a fashion model, and still no one cared. If a country as conservative as Spain can embrace naturism, even on beaches close to the city centre, why can’t we? OK, maybe the climate has something to do with it, but we haven’t done so bad ourselves this summer, so why hasn’t there been more reports of people stripping bare on British beaches?
I think I see the problem. No one is pushing for a change of social attitude in this country, and I do mean no one. Not in a concerted, organised way. Reliance on subjective words like ‘free’ and ‘liberated’ in odd articles here and there is all fine and dandy but will it persuade the politicians, local and national? I think not.
Technically is just a word. The law might say public nudity is legal. The Crown Prosecution Service and the College of Policing may have issued guidance to help lawyers and front-line police officers to navigate the law correctly, so only those who have broken it are brought before a magistrate. But none of that stops people from believing simple nudity is wrong in their own minds; none of that will prevent police officers and lawyers from acting irrationally in a difficult situation or prevent their own prejudices governing their actions, and as long as that is the case, naturism will only be technically legal. We need to change the way people think. Naturism needs social change.
In its current format, NAG cannot achieve its aim of bringing about social change, so we need to change instead. Change is good. Look out for your opportunity to influence it.
17 August 2018
Please share this post. All posts on the NAG website are free to view, you only need to register to post a comment. We want as many UK residents as possible, or those with strong connections with the UK, to participate in the forthcoming opportunities and your help to make that happen would be greatly appreciated.
Apologise for the delay in making them available, but here are the minutes for our last meeting held on 25thMay 2018. If you have any questions, by all means contact one of the Collective’s members. Please bear in mind, we are volunteers and might not be able to respond immediately but if you haven’t had a reply within 7 working days, just send us a gentle reminder.
Campaigner Juliette Gill has tweeted that Police Scotland will now be informing their control rooms that simple public nudity is not an offence and anyone reporting a naturist will be told accordingly. The only reason an officer will be sent to investigate further is when the person displays behaviour that is concerning.
This is Gill’s victory and hers alone; not NAG’s and, as far as we are aware, not British Naturism’s.
13:00hrs 10th July — I have been corrected, Juliette is Regional Committee for BN in Scotland, and a hardworking volunteer. Hope no one was offended and apologise if they were.
NAG London have announced some changes to a visit to Paris and Bois du Vincennes. It will now take place between Friday 7th September and Monday 10th September 2018.
It is suggested that you book your own passage with a cost in the region of £200 and a visit to the naturist restuarent O Natural on the Saturday is also planned.
More details are included in the attached notice. This is a chance to not only take in the sights of Paris and giving support to our French cousins as they establish a new venue for open space naturism.
Posted for John Paine
19th June 2018.
The Public Nudity Advice and Decision-making Aid from the College of Policing has come some years after the CPS published its own guidance: Nudity in Public, guidance on handling cases of naturism, even so NAG’s Treasurer Duncan Heenan said: ‘It is a welcome addition and should greatly help with educating frontline police officers.’
In the briefing note, officers are told that naturism is ‘a philosophical belief’ and ‘naturists have a right to freedom of expression, which only engages [the] criminal law if they commit sexual offences or use disorderly behaviour’ and they ‘should consider every situation according to its own circumstances’.
While it explained the wide