John and Helen Donson have been going to The Pines Outdoor Club in Longhope for more than 10 years
or a lot of people, hearing the word ‘naturist’ brings back memories of comedy sketch characters such as Bubbles DeVere – a hypersexualised, sensationalised version of a naturist who, actually, cannot really be classed as a naturist at all.
The Pines Outdoor Club in Longhope is a long established naturist haunt, frequented by Chippenham couple John and Helen Donson, who even had their Pagan wedding ceremony at the off-the-grid club.
The club is not just a place for people to take their clothes off and lounge around, as many would assume – the clue is actually in the name. Naturism is about respecting and appreciating what surrounds you.
John, 68, said: “We have been to other clubs, we’ve been to Cap d’Agde in the South of France, and we’ve been on a couple of other naturist holidays, but for us, The Pines is home,
“It’s not for everybody, simply because there is no running water, there is no electricity, we are in the middle of nowhere.
“It is not a place for the casual person to roll up, take their clothes off, and leave again.
“If you become a club member of The Pines, you are expected to help with the maintenance of the land that we own and I know in today’s modern society that’s not what people want.”
Helen, 55, became a naturist back in 2006, although she says she hated clothes as a child, and introduced John in 2011.
However, John was used to sharing communal showers during his time in the military, so the journey to becoming a naturist was not too long for him.
He said: “Having lived and worked around other people in a close community who share the showers, share the toilets, share the bedroom, the barracks, I was used to it.
“Helen took me up to The Pines and it was a beautiful sunny day, so the shirt came off straight away and everybody else was naked and I thought, ‘Might as well’. And that was it.
Original publication 8 August, 2021
Posted on NatCorn 9th August 2021
Reference to an article does not infer endorsement of any views expressed.