Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Smiles all round on a chilly December day

Smiles all round on a chilly December day

Nurturing, nourishing naturism

At Tim Crook’s January Bavard Bar, held in St Leonards’ Kino-Teatr, Keith Palmer was one of the three speakers, whose mission is to inspire and interest the audience about their passion for 15 minutes followed by a Q&A. The title of Keith’s talk was ‘The Birthday Suit: how styles have changed,’ and his passion is naturism, especially naked rambling with the group, Stark Trekkers. Zelly Restorick writes. 

As someone who has experienced the joys of feeling the sun and the breeze on all of my skin, I was interested to hear Keith talk with such enthusiasm about a topic which is controversial, although unnecessarily so, I believe. For me personally, it is a freeing experience. Liberating. Natural. Beautiful. It is a nurturing, nourishing experience. I feel much more at ease with my body when I am naked: somehow all the demands to be a certain shape – or to look a certain way in a swimsuit or bikini – evaporate. And one sees that everyone is basically the same – and of course, one is beyond the judgements, impressions and associations made about the clothes we wear. Everyone is equal. A level playing field. Seldom experienced in life. I like that.

The British Naturism website states: “The human body in all its diversity is an object of intrinsic beauty of which the owner should be proud. Simple nudity is not indecent, shameful or immoral. Naturism engenders self-respect and respect for others, regardless of shape, age, gender, size, colour, or disability. People should be accepted for who they are and not for what they wear. Communal nudity discourages social barriers but clothing accentuates social differences.”

What do you personally like about naturism, Keith?

The opportunity to do whatever takes your fancy but with the added liberating feeling of being without clothes, of being unencumbered, of just being who you are. Seeing naturist families, individuals and couples simply enjoying themselves on some wide, sunny and sandy beach seems to me quite idyllic. This is something quite difficult to achieve in most parts of this country, I fear, as naturists are usually expected to inhabit remote, inaccessible and shingly beaches! Studland Bay in Dorset is an exception.

Looking west up the Medway

Looking west up the Medway

Locally there are naturist groups – for swimming, sun-bathing, walking. You are a member of the group of the naturist rambling group. When do the Stark Trekkers get together for a walk?

On our local walks, we walk each month of the year although some of the weather we encounter in the winter months is definitely ‘challenging’. We are always very respectful of others – and if we see people up ahead, we cover up. Our aim is not to shock people, but to enjoy nature in our own natural state of being.

People would be very welcome to join either the national group Naturist Ramblers or my local group Stark Trekkers. If you’re interested in participating in a naturist ramble in Sussex and Kent, please contact me via

I am saddened and puzzled by people who associate naturism with sex or perversion. This seems to me to be unfair and a gross misrepresentation of the naked body. What do you think?

You are right when you say that the naked human body is in very many people’s minds equated to sex. I suppose the basic reason for this goes right back to the Christian background and the Old Testament story of Adam and Eve! And it is a great pity that many people regard naturism as a ‘perversion’: how can this be since it is the natural human state?

I have – now and again – talked about naturism with close friends – and can confirm that once the experience is tried, although possibly with initial shyness, it has been enjoyed, never forgotten. What is your experience?  

You’re right that many people don’t dare to try it, but if they do they often find they like it – it is just taking the plunge to disrobe. Those who never do so really have no idea what they are missing in their lives.

Relaxing in the sun

Relaxing in the sun

In your Bavard Bar talk, you were asked a question about the clothed and the un-clothed living life together, side by side.

Yes, it would be wonderful if the clothed and unclothed could peacefully live side by side. For the indoor naturist for example to be able to pop down to the shops or the pub without having to put something on and without exciting comment would be an ideal, but such a situation frankly seems a very long way off indeed.

The Naked Rambler is a trailblazer for the acceptance of nudity as a normal way of life and although he has been much maligned and praised, his ideas in the long term may come to stick and be accepted as ‘normal’. Society probably needs ‘militants’  like him if it is going to eventually change, but the results will not be apparent immediately.


Benefits of naturism

The British Naturism website states: “More and more people are realising the significant benefits nudity brings to mental, emotional and physical health, body image issues, and their ability to relax and escape the rigours of daily life. It’s widely accepted that it’s good for everyone to have the sun and fresh air on their skin – so why not get the maximum benefit?

“When you shake off your clothes, you do more than just peeling away the layers of fabric. It often feels like you are removing your worries, stresses and particularly any hang-ups you have about your body. If you’ve yet to try it, there is no greater feeling of freedom than giving your whole body – and in fact your entire ‘being’ – a good airing.”

Local naturist beaches can be found at Fairlight and Norman’s Bay.

Bavard Bar Talks: run by Tim Crook in St Leonards-on-Sea and Eastbourne.


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Posted 18:47 Sunday, Feb 4, 2018 In: Hastings People


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  1. Philip Baker

    After this fabulous summer you cannot say its too cold now.
    However, we don’t only stick to outdoor events. On Saturday we skinny dipped in the afternoon and went to the art gallery in the evening –
    All quite normal.

    Comment by Philip Baker — Friday, Aug 17, 2018 @ 05:46

  2. Steve Waters

    I can just imagine the response Mrs Doubtfire, but not ALL people would be against it. Don’t worry, I’m not likely to be getting my kit off anywhere outside at the moment…its too bally cold!

    Comment by Steve Waters — Saturday, Feb 24, 2018 @ 12:47

  3. Ms.Doubtfire

    I can assure you Mr. Waters you have not ruffled my feathers as you suggest – do not flatter yourself! I have enjoyed many a holiday in the Greek islands and of course it is perfectly acceptable to swim with or without the adornment of cozzies…we are talking here about those who wish to parade around starkers whether or not it may offend some of the populace. As I suggested in earlier posts – why don’t you give it a go and see the response.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 @ 20:02

  4. Steve Waters

    Oh dear, I seem to have ruffled Mrs Doubtfire’s feathers! It’s a shame that she is so prudish and appears to regard nakedness as something shameful. I presume she has never been to a Spanish beach on the Costas where it is quite common to see naked people skinny dipping in the sea and cavorting around on the sand. I must admit that I have a certain admiration for Stephen Gough, that chappie who goes around the country on naked rambles. He’s obviously trying to make a point and it’s a pity that he has had to spend so much time incarcerated in prison for doing so. I would not be surprised if he is still doing porridge because as soon as he is released he goes back on the road! Having said that, I accept that there is a time and a place for baring all and must admit that I would be rather surprised if I encountered stark naked people walking around the aisles in Lidl or Aldi as I did my shopping. Of course naturists are mindful of where they disrobe, which is why, as the article says, they would be respectful of others and cover up if they came across anyone who possibly might be offended. Some “liberated” parents teach their children from an early age that there is nothing bad about the naked body and are quite relaxed about this. Good on them!

    Comment by Steve Waters — Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018 @ 18:36

  5. Zelly Restorick

    Dear MsDoubtfire,
    Thank you for your comment.
    The naturist ramblers are always respectful of others – and cover up when they see other people in their vicinity. What is sad is the association of our naked bodies with something perverse – something ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ – that would somehow upset or hurt children. Yet it is the attitude of the adults around them which influence their responses. We seem to associate nudity with sex or perversion in our culture. These naturists do not go out of their way to disturb or offend; they like the feel of their bodies in their natural state in nature, which they find uplifting and connecting. These people are respectful and responsible people. The naked body is not wrong… it never has been, nor can it be automatically interpreted as dangerous to children. We live in a society where I find so much that is sickening and terrifying. Nudity isn’t one of them. However, I do understand that yes, it would be unusual to encounter naked ramblers, but as I say, the walkers always cover up when others are on the same path. What I object to is the assumption that nudity equals automatic perversion. Maybe an advanced soul parent would say: these people love the feel of the breeze on their body, the sun on their skin, the healing power of the elements in nature.
    Thank you for your time, as always.
    Zelly Restorick

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Friday, Feb 16, 2018 @ 10:26

  6. Ms.Doubtfire

    Maybe it wouldn’t bother you Mr. Waters if you were out walking in the woods and you came across some naked people….but do you not think it may bother parents taking their young children out for some play time in the woods.
    Why don’t you ‘try it yourself sometime’ as you so crassly put it…and see the reaction you get. Grow up for heavens sake. Genuine naturists would not deliberately go out of their way to annoy or embarrass anyone.This is why there are specific places where naturists can go to enjoy their outdoor pursuits without incurring the wrath of non naturists. It will be a long time before the vision of naked adults strolling in our public woodlands is considered acceptable behaviour.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Friday, Feb 16, 2018 @ 09:06

  7. Steve Waters

    I can’t see anything wrong with naturism. We came into the world naked so its perfectly natural. It wouldn’t bother me at all if I came across people naked while out walking in the woods. I was curious about the nudist beach we have at Covehurst Bay in Fairlight Glen (accessed through the Country Park). I had passed it before on one of my nature walks but had never gone all the way down to the beach. Last year I went down to see what it was like. Before doing so I noticed there were signs warning people that the steps were dangerous and that the Council would not be held responsible if there were any accidents. Its a pity that they have not been repaired but I suppose the council have other priorities at the moment. The beach was empty when I reached the bottom but it was quite pleasant and very secluded. Coming back up I passed a man going down with his fishing tackle, which brought a smile to my face! Perhaps it is a good place to catch fish too. When I told people where I’d been there were the usual silly remarks! People should be able to enjoy going skyclad if they want to without being labelled a ‘perv’. I havn’t tried it yet myself but…who knows…one day!

    Comment by Steve Waters — Sunday, Feb 11, 2018 @ 09:26

  8. pinxie

    Ms. Doubtfire, I’m with you on this one. OMG. Honestly!!!

    Comment by pinxie — Tuesday, Feb 6, 2018 @ 16:10

  9. Ms.Doubtfire

    Zelly for heavens sake!! Tongue in cheek here!!

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Monday, Feb 5, 2018 @ 09:24

  10. Zelly Restorick

    Dear Ms Doubtfire, When I posted this article – about the beauty of naturism – I suspected that someone might send in such a comment – and warned Keith Palmer that it might provoke such responses. I sighed sadly inside when I read your words, but I am publishing them, as you are as entitled to your say as much as myself or Keith. Zelly Restorick

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Monday, Feb 5, 2018 @ 08:58

  11. Ms.Doubtfire

    I find the wearing of green socks with those Jesus sandals very poor taste indeed.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Monday, Feb 5, 2018 @ 08:29

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