Sussex nudists enjoy days out, country walks and yoga classes in the buff

For a growing number of people in Sussex being naked is simply more comfortable and allows them to enjoy a sense of freedom. While the majority would be embarrassed to bare all on a country walk, naturists are now organising a range of activities across the county and it doesn’t stop at nudist beaches and swims.

Sussex naturists during a trip to an art gallery. Picture by David Owens Photography SUS-190523-155625001

From naked yoga, hikes across the Sussex and Kent countryside, ten pin bowling, cream teas, meals out and trips to art galleries – it seems naturists are enjoying all sorts of ordinary activities in the buff.

Every Sunday, people drive from Horsham, Crawley, Tonbridge and Rye to the Edwardian Motcombe Swimming Pool in Eastbourne to enjoy a weekly naturist swim which has been running for 35 years.

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Philip Baker from the group said, “The pool and naturism date from the same period and both were considered modern, healthy activities at the time.

Naked yoga Photo by Alan Peill SUS-190523-155614001

“We use the term naturist rather than naked for our swim to emphasise that this is not a hedonistic, but a natural activity.

“Our ethos is respect both for ourselves and others, regardless of shape, age, gender, size, colour, or disability.

“In recent times the authorities have confirmed the position in law namely that simply being naked is not an offence.

“We think of it as the freedom to be ourselves and to relate to each other honestly. We have had many visitors remark on the friendliness of our members.

Naturists hiking in the Sussex countryside Photo by Alan Peill SUS-190523-155635001

“We also experience our freedom outside of the pool and engage in some of the normal activities that anyone else enjoys.”

Early in May, Philip and other naturists from Sussex, visited the Royal Academy. The naturist visit to the London gallery was popular and attracted more than 60 like-minded people coming from across the country from as far afield as Cornwall.

Philip explained, “We viewed the Renaissance Nude exhibition in the nude.

“The Royal Academy managed the event for us very well, with special ticketing arrangements, plus the bookshop was kept open for us and they made audio guides available.

“I admit it was the first time I had used a guide and it made absorbing listening - so I was the last one out of the gallery.

“The Royal Academy had never before held a naturist event, but were very pleased with the way the evening went and any trepidation that they might have had beforehand was soon dispelled.

“They also dealt with publicity and released items on social media shortly afterwards.

“The best news is that they would be happy to welcome us back.”

This is not the first time naturists have enjoyed a visit to an art gallery. Back in August 2018 a group of naturists arranged visits to the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne and The Jerwood in Hastings.

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The most recent activity was a nudist ramble in the East Sussex countryside. It is a monthly event and participants carry the essentials – hiking boots, rucksacks, walking sticks and an all-important picnic – but no clothes.

Philip said, “Our ramble took place on May 22 about 20 miles from Eastbourne.

“It was perfect walking weather at 17C with sunny spells and no wind.

“We do six miles which takes us about four hours with a picnic stop.”

Outdoor naturist activities are obviously seasonal and there are plenty of events planned for summer 2019.

Philip said, “One of the highlights of our year is our annual visit to one of Sussex’s finest woodland gardens for the afternoon, which this year is on June 5.

“The garden usually puts on a cream tea for us, which might be an English adaptation to a back to nature experience.

“A new event for this year is ten pin bowling. We hope to make a few strikes for naturism on June 13, for which tickets are available.

“Also Arundel Lido, which is unusual because it’s heated, will host a naturist swim early in July.

“The lido dates from 1960 and was re-opened in 2004. Arundel and Downland Community Leisure Trust which operate Arundel Lido, has launched a project to make it an all-year-round facility and our donations will go towards the planned heated changing rooms.”

Sussex naturists also enjoy a regular naked yoga class in Hastings.

British Naturism, a national organisation which promotes naturism, has pioneered a Great British Skinny Dip to encourage people to swim naked. Last year it was held at Motcombe in Eastbourne, but this year the event will be held in July and will take place at Norman’s Bay beach, which has attracted naturists for more than 30 years.

Philip added, “We also clean that beach in September for the Marine Conservation Society’s annual Beachclean event.

“It was light work last year as naturists tend to be environmentally conscious.”

Other events such as restaurant and pub visits happen occasionally and are posted on the events page here for anyone who is interested in taking part.

Club membership costs £10 a year.