Band of merry nudists anger locals in Robin Hood woods

By: AFP      Published: 09:12 AM, 7 Aug, 2021
Band of merry nudists anger locals in Robin Hood woods
Representational image.

Nude ramblers are leaving regular visitors to Sherwood Forest hot under the collar, with naked sightings now an "everyday" occurrence in the famed home of English outlaw Robin Hood.

One unimpressed regular has launched a petition to demand that Nottinghamshire County Council and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), which run the nature reserve, "stop promoting nudity" in the ancient wood.

"In recent times, nudists have started walking around here, sometimes in groups of up to 12 men," said petition organiser Robert Robinson.

"My wife used to regularly jog around the forest, but stopped when she came across this group of men," he added, explaining she had been "confronted by a naked man in the bushes who was 'self-gratifying' himself as she went by".

Sightings of naked ramblers are now an everyday occurrence, he added, blaming the RSPB for saying that nudists are welcome. 

"There is no need to walk about naked. Clothes do not stop you enjoying the forest," he said.

The ancient forest in central England is home to the 1,000 year-old Major Oak tree, which, according to legend, was Robin Hood's main hideout. 

The heroic outlaw, accompanied by Maid Marian and his band of Merry Men, is said to have robbed the rich and given to the poor, outwitting his nemesis the Sheriff of Nottingham.

The RSPB said it requested "considerate behaviour from everyone" and that "small numbers" of nudists had enjoyed walking in quieter parts of the forest for decades.

"Their presence is tolerated -- and indeed legal -- provided they adhere to certain behaviours," a spokeswoman said in a statement.

She said the alleged incident referred to in the petition was never reported to the site managers and if it had been, would have been referred to the police.

"The RSPB does not tolerate sexual, abusive or intimidating behaviour of any kind under any circumstances and anyone encountering this behaviour should contact the police as soon as possible," she added.