Mark Nisbet's speech to SUN AGM - 8th Nov '97
First of all I would like to thank members of the Board and the membership of
Studland United Nudists for electing me Chairman for the coming year. I have
been a Board member of SUN for some time now and I am impressed with the
dedication and hard work of Colin James the Secretary, Sue
Dangerfield's management of SUN's finances and all the other members of the
Board who have all put in a great deal of time and effort over the past year.
New SUN Chairman also editor of
think I can say that I am up to the minute with the latest developments and I
hope that my involvement with, and contacts in, the wider world of social nudism
through my Editorship of Starkers magazine will enable me to carry out my duties
as Chairman effectively and with diligence and style in order to promote the
interests of SUN Group in this protracted dispute with the National Trust and
others over the traditional nudist use of Studland.
There is no real alternative word to "traditional" to describe the
seventy year record of the naked enjoyment of the sea, beach, dunes and
landscape of Studland.
The National Trust are seeking to end that facility. All
we are expected to do is to buy an ice cream from their mobile cafe, turn over
on our towels, and accept their re-writing of Studland's recent history.
Shrunken nudist ghetto is act of
Studland United Nudists was formed in response to what can best be described
as an act of aggression by the National Trust in their routing of a textile
walk, marked by yellow topped posts, through the traditional nudist area and the
erection of a cordon sanitaire of red topped posts in an attempt to
create a shrunken nudist ghetto. All this, apparently, to 'spare the blushes' of
Dorset Coastal Path walkers - who may, or may not be 'embarrassed' by the sight
of their fellow human beings relaxing, naked, on the beach and in the dunes of
Studland, something they have been doing in one form or another for over seventy
Fears that grabbing the last 10% could
become simple formality
The National Trust's rationale for the chosen route of Heather Walk has
been consistently attacked by SUN representatives in a number of meetings with
National Trust officials. The National Trust say it's the only viable route. SUN
says it isn't, and consistently - tiresomely, it could be said - proves the far
better choice of a route for Heather Walk is behind what is known as the
broadleaf woodland. The advantages of this are easy to sum up: body shy ramblers
can enjoy their walk without seeing nudists at all! As it is, even with the
ludicrous yellow post way and red post border, given the nature of the
landscape, nervous textile ramblers, as they look over what is supposed to be a
'nudist free zone', can still see plenty of happy nudists. Why, some of us even
wave to them as they schlep by in their cumbersome 'leisure wear' in the
broiling heat of a July afternoon.
It is obvious to many what lies behind the National Trust's insistence on the
present route of Heather Walk. It is the annexation of the traditional nudist
area for their own purposes - which, it has to be said, could eventually lead to
the seizure and occupation of the entire nudist area by the National Trust and
the confinement of nudists to the beach only. If we ever accepted their grabbing
90% of the traditional nudist area in the dunes then the eventual seizure of the
remaining 10% would be a mere formality. This must not and will not happen.
Nudists never made demands on Trust
before they started tinkering about
The National Trust like to claim that in the management of their properties
they have to consider the 'demands' of several different types of 'users'. Well,
we nudists at Studland never made any demands of them before they started
tinkering about. We were just there, a naked element, a human legacy, a part of
the Bankes bequest if you like. The limits or borders to naked rambling in the
dunes are somehow known to all nudist visitors. Why, naked people were probably
there before the land was formed, or even before the Dartford Warbler also
decided that it was a nice place to spend the summer!
and Central Council for British Naturism hostile to Studland nudists
I said earlier, when I referred to the National Trust and others, that
opposition to the traditional nudist use of Studland also comes from 'others'.
The local Press remains ambivalent at best, hostile at worst. But an attempt to
undermine the valuable work of SUN has emerged from another source, and one
which may surprise some SUN members - but not many, I am sure. I am referring to
the Central Council for British Naturism or the CCBN or simply British Naturism
- no one seems to know what their preferred form of address actually is. Anyway,
they have decided to side with the National Trust, in fact they've signed a pact
CCBN welcomes the decision by the National Trust to "endorse
nudity on Studland" - since when has nudity on Studland ever required
'endorsement' by the National Trust?
This was made clear in a recent edition of BN Magazine which gave over three
obsequious pages to the Trust's point of view. Editor Rex Watson, as Neville
Chamberlain, visited Studland for the day as a guest of Property Manager Julian
Homer, and came back with a little piece of paper in the form of a shameful
article which was published in the autumn edition of BN Magazine. Watson
fulsomely praised Trust management of Studland and hailed their acknowledgement
of an 'official' naturist area on Studland as, and I quote,
step forward for naturism in this country". Although in the next
paragraph he acknowledges that this will earn him criticism from
nudists" he welcomes the decision by the National Trust to
nudity on Studland". Where, one might well ask, is Rex Watson
coming from? Since when has nudity on Studland ever required 'endorsement' by
the National Trust. The National Trust are newcomers to the scene: nudity has
been there a lot longer than they have. CCBN's position is not a step forward,
it's a surrender masquerading as a bit of 'peace in our time'.
Thankfully, the level of support for CCBN on Studland is barely detectable.
Even the National Trust recognise this salient fact. At a recent meeting with
the Trust, at which, incidentally, the Trust said they would go away and
look at the boundary question again" -although whether they will come
up with anything new remains to be seen - it was they who asked for SUN's
agreement to regular meetings with Trust officers. We settled on twice a year -
at the beginning of summer and at the end. As far as we know, this facility has
not been extended to the CCBN, who in any event would have little to dispute
with the Trust. They're happy with the situation as it is!
SUN becomes the de facto party of
negotiation over the border dispute at Studland - and not CCBN
So SUN becomes the de facto party of negotiation over the border
dispute at Studland - and not CCBN. They've gone belly up. The Trust will have
been only half pleased by the BN article. They know where the real opposition to
their plans lies - and they know that SUN speaks for far more people at Studland
than CCBN ever could. Round one to SUN, I think!
CCBN's Rex Watson: "As far as I'm
concerned, the dunes can be mined and garlanded with 12ft high rolls of
The effective trading of dunes for beaches is, apparently, official CCBN
policy. SUN members around the country who use other beaches and dunes might
like to take note - particularly if CCBN are party to any negotiations. The
proof is here in an extract from my recent correspondence with Rex Watson,
editor of BN:
"So a great many Studland users took exception to my article. (In BN
133.) So? I went to Studland as the Editor of BN, not as the representative of
SUN. I can't see why SUN should gripe - I'm not stopping them negotiating for
more dunes, am I? CCBN is interested in the beach, not the dunes. As far as
I'm concerned, the dunes can be mined and garlanded with 12ft high rolls of
razor wire. I went into those dunes. I found them seedy and oppressive, and I
was jolly glad I had my trousers on. Dunes are a blight on the establishment
of more naturist beaches."
What price nudist solidarity? Some of us might find the way CCBN operates
'seedy and oppressive'. Little secretive seedy side deals with people like the
Trust without consultation with the membership who are then told, oppressively,
to like it or lump it.
It would have been a happier state of affairs if CCBN had supported SUN in
their dispute with the National Trust. But CCBN have chosen to pursue their own
policy which many agree amounts to something of a betrayal.
Over 400 Members SUN is an active and
well run pressure group
Speaking on behalf of SUN, I can state categorically that there is no chance
of SUN ever behaving in such a cavalier manner towards our members. We do,
however, find ourselves assertively representing nudists with demands where none
existed before - but only because they have been provoked by the National Trust.
With over 400 members in this active and well run pressure group, the Trust know
they are up against it if they continue with their ill-advised management
programme in this beautiful area of Dorset.
There's nothing we'd all like better, I am sure, than to be left alone to
enjoy the place, as we have for many years, without feeling that we are under
siege, under surveillance, all but fenced in and morally policed by a bunch of
highly paid executives and their lackeys who want to force upon us their corrupt
version of a future Studland.
It is simply a reversal of this deplorable state of affairs to which SUN is
vigorously applying itself. With your continued support, the Board of Studland United Nudists are
confident of victory.