Hampstead’s Naked Men Want More Room

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Hampstead Heath is famous and well loved for many things; its outstanding natural beauty, the swimming ponds, shagging and tramps being gifted million pound plots. It’s also the only place in London that men can legally sunbathe naked, in a special enclosure by the Men’s Pond.

The Camden Gazette reports how the enclosure is currently split in two parts, almost two thirds is for ‘clothed’ men and the smaller section for naked men. Years ago, the entire patch was for the clotheless but a complaint from a local barrister in the early 90s, who didn’t wish to have to see his brethren in their birthday suits when using the Heath, led to the partitioning. Ironically, this did nothing to obscure the naked bodies using it, but squished them all together so on hot days it’s a mass of naked male flesh.

Naturist and long term user of the nude area, Michael Peacock, has started a petition to reverse this partitioning and expand the area available for nudity. Already he has the signatures of around 600 other men and the petition is now online seeking wider support.

What we can’t understand is that, surely, ‘clothed’ men have their pick of 800 acres of heathland to sunbathe in. Why do they need an enclosure at all? And, striking some balance here, what about an area for naturist women who want to “let it all hang out”?

Image of the men’s pond courtesy of sw2guy via the Londonist Flickrpool.

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  • ravcasleygera

    Apparently the problem was that you have to walk through the men’s changing area to get to the toilets, and the barrister guy didn’t want to look at nude sunbathers when taking his son to the loo. So they hived off a bit of a changing room for nudity.

    Which is fair enough, I suppose; but people on the way to the toilet (a) still have to look at men getting changed and (b) can clearly see into the battery hen cage nude enclosure anyway. The new plan makes the nude bit much bigger andobscures it from the path to the toilets completely, which seems sensible.

    As for the women’s: the female pond is pretty well secluded by trees, unlike the men’s; so I kind of assumed they were all naked in there anyway. Ladies, is this true??

  • rlo

    It took over a hundred years for us to recover from the prudery that the Victorians imposed on us but nudity as such is no longer an offense. You still have to be careful about the Public Order Act but nudity is now legal in a much wider range of circumstances than used to be the case. However the police have been given incredibly wide powers to arrest and generally make life unpleasant for anyone whose behaviour they take exception to.

    We would welcome an extension to the nude area at the ponds but really there should be an area of the park designated as clothing optional. There are over half a million people in London who describe themselves as being a naturist and it is time that the discrimination against us was stopped.

    Malcolm Boura
    British Naturism