The independent London newspaper

Naturists have history at the ponds and the City needs to sort out its policy

18 June, 2020

Hampstead Heath ponds

• MUCH has been said about access to the ponds at Highgate and the City of London’s confused position on reopening for swimming.

Their draft proposal for some future opening has no arrangements to accommodate naturists who also use the enclosures for sunbathing.

The ponds are the only public space in London where naturists can relax in the sun.

The City has tried to restrict this practice over the years, frequently conflating prudery around nakedness with thinly-veiled homophobia to justify a bid to stamp out over 100 years of London’s social heritage.

An example of this up-tight attitude was shown recently when a request to allow swimmers at the ponds to take part in the annual National Skinny Dip and raise funds for prostate cancer research was dismissed out of hand.

Questions about why their draft plan does not accommodate naturists have so far received no response.

Many of us fear the socially conservative members of ponds’ management team are now planning to use the Covid crisis as a tool to finally end this quirky element of the capital’s social life.

It’s time for the ponds’ management to consider all its users in their planning and get over the issues they have with the naturism.

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