Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Beach beauty spot ban for nudists

Naturists have been banned from Holkham beach in north Norfolk after police were alerted to indecent acts

Naturists are to be banned from a renowned beauty spot after police were alerted to indecent acts at the popular beach.

The miles of white sand at Holkham in north Norfolk have long been shared by families, dog walkers and nudists as well as hosting an annual beach ride by the Queen's Household Cavalry.

But the decades-long tradition will soon be brought to an end after managers at the Holkham Estate became aware of a growing number of sexual offences being reported to police.

Andrew Welch, a spokesman for British Naturism, accepted that a minority had spoilt it for everyone else but said the move was unlikely to be successful. "It's like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut," he said.

A spokesman for the estate confirmed that the naturist area on the western side of Holkham will be closed from July 1. Signs will be erected and wardens instructed to ask any naturists to put their clothes on and warn them that they could face arrest and prosecution if they refuse.

Sarah Henderson, the estate's conservation manager, said: "It is sad we have been forced to take this step due to the persistent anti-social behaviour of a minority of people. The management and control of these activities has been an increasing concern to me and my team who look after the reserve so we have had to take action to ban all nudism.

"We have consulted with the police and discussed the issues and options. The decision has been made to implement a total ban for the better management and future safety of all our visitors."

Mr Welch said a small number of people had behaved indecently but added that the traditional perception of naturists as "cavorting libertines" was flawed.

"We are mostly gentle people who have found a healthy way of enjoying the sun," he added.

Holkham National Nature Reserve attracts more than 500,000 visitors each year and has been described by Natural England as one of the most important heavily visited sites in the UK.

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