Back | Up | Next | Site Map

SUN Campaign History - Nov 1997

Join Studland United Nudists

Become a Friend of SUN - It's FREE!



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 Starkers Magazine

I 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 aggression

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 years.

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!

Local Press 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 with them.

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, "An enormous step forward for naturism in this country". Although in the next paragraph he acknowledges that this will earn him criticism from "radical nudists" he welcomes the decision by the National Trust to "endorse 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 "genuinely 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 razor wire."

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.

Mark Nisbet


Back | Next | Site Map