Guest columnist and naturist Victoria Allen gives her view on the ban on naturism at Holkham beach near Wells
- Credit: Archant © 2006
For many years the western section of Holkham beach, near wells, has been a designated area for naturists.
But, as reported by the EDP, the Holkham Estate has decided to introduce a ban due to growing concerns of anti-social beahviour.
Naturist Victoria Allen, from Norwich, gives her view...
I am a naturist – I am a single woman, I do not flaunt myself, I enjoy the sun on my skin – and that's all. I don't go to any naturist beach to socialise – why would I? I just want to sun bathe and swim with bare skin, without any bother from other people.
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When I wear no clothing I feel as if it is totally natural. I'm not a model in any sense of fashion or media inflicted shape size zero. I'm a fully grown adult female (mother too) who likes to sun bathe. I'm hardly likely to wander on a beach when it's winter, but during the spring and summer months I enjoy the sun on my skin and swimming in the sea.
Holkham offers that experience legally, I certainly don't want to get into trouble with the law for being nude in an inappropriate public place, which is why a designated area is so important. It is also safer to be with a group of like-minded people when you are a female. But why do we offend people's sensibilities with our nudity? And why do we have to go to a designated area?
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Also, many beaches are often fairly difficult to get to – the Landslip at Blackgang on the Isle of Wight is a bit of a marathon as the cliff slips and paths disappear.
Naturists tend to be friendly in a 'how-do-you-do' way, but enjoy their own space and do not expect to get chatted up or ogled by someone (usually men I'm afraid) in a sexual sense. I take my sketch pad or watercolours and a picnic (sometimes the kids come along too) and enjoy the sensuality of the elements.
If you are on your own, in my experience anyway, other women will warn you if there is someone shifty about and then after a brief chat, leave you to enjoy the beach.
Often it is better to be near a family group than alone away from everybody. Clearly, this is just a female safety issue which (unfortunately and irritatingly) still has to be practised in today's 'community aware, but unable to comprehend nudity without sex' society.
I was recently verbally abused by a teenage boy. I suspect the availability of internet porn to teenagers, and its negativity towards women, has tainted many youngsters' understanding of bare skin as a natural thing.
Clearly, living in the Northern Hemisphere we use clothing to keep warm most of the time – so what's wrong with discarding it when it is warm?
Culturally, African tribes and many other groups wear nothing, sometimes bark or animal skins and beads, even leaves for delicate areas that require protection. This is lauded as cultural heritage – does anyone remember Woad and the Ancient Britons? The blue stuff?
It seems far more provocative to wear a tiny bikini/thong thing and titillate rather than being totally unselfconscious about one's own body.
I have been intimidated at Eastleigh beach by men ogling me and getting too close to where I was laying. What is going on? Whatever happened to good manners and dignity? Their behaviour is unacceptable on a public beach – but then some people think nudity is – but is that again because it brings up the naughty idea of sex? Very 'carry-on' and rather tedious now.
I was irritated by some idiot peering through the marram grass at Holkham last year. Get a biology textbook if you are that interested in anatomy.
I do not want to upset anybody – nudity is not special, we aren't born with a three-piece suit on! When will people grow up and not equate nudity with sexual congress?
I wonder if it is some hangover from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? There are adders in the dunes, so perhaps some intelligent person has put it all together and come up with the idea that naturism is evil? I think we should all look at how we view nakedness and how we discuss a natural state with our children, as we evidently haven't done a very good job so far.
I am so disappointed that Holkham is banning naturism – I felt safe there and it's not too isolated. Please could the estate reconsider?