Norfolk

'Shakespeare in Love' Holkham beach naturist ban lifted

Holkham Beach
Image caption Naturists were banned from Holkham beach in Norfolk in July following complaints that people were having sex in public

A ban on naturism at a beach made famous by the film Shakespeare in Love has been lifted.

Naturists were banned from Holkham beach, Norfolk, in July after complaints that people were having sex in public.

But the ban was revoked after British Naturism threatened legal action against the Crown Estate, which owns part of the beach.

However, the bar on nudity remains in place in sand dunes at the beach.

The western section of the beach, which featured in the 1998 film starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes, had been a designated naturist area for a number of years.

'Angry people'

The beach has also featured in TV programmes The Avengers and Kingdom, and in the video for All Saints' hit Pure Shores.

Malcolm Boura, campaigns director for British Naturism, said he was delighted the ban had been lifted.

"It's the only designated naturist beach north of the Thames Estuary on the East Coast," he said.

"It has up to 1,000 users on a good day so the ban was affecting a lot of people and a lot of people were very angry about it.

"We've been on an information-gathering exercise over the summer, talking to all the people concerned.

"We've been very persuasive and it's taken an awful lot of effort."

He said one of the letters sent by the group contained "substantial input from a lawyer".

It is understood the letter indicated the group, which has about 10,000 members, was preparing for a judicial review.

A spokesman for the Crown Estate, which owns the beach below mean high water, said: "After further correspondence with British Naturism we have agreed to lift restrictions on Crown Estate foreshore at the western end of Holkham beach."

'Ruined the reserve'

Mr Boura said although naturists had not officially been allowed to use the dunes, which are owned by Holkham Estate, in practice they had done until the ban came into force.

He said the organisation now hoped it could get the ban lifted there too.

"It would be good if we could. We understand there have been some problems there and that's something we will be working on," he said.

David Horton-Fawkes, estates director at the Holkham Estate, said: "Until now the ban on nudism had stopped the illegal activity that has plagued the beach.

"We can only hope that this decision does not reopen the door to those who have ruined this part of the nature reserve for the vast majority of beach users."

He said the ban on naturism on estate land remained in place to "safeguard our staff and visitors".

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