Naturism on RSPB Reserves

RSPB Sherwood Forest and Budby South Forest Policy

What is Naturism?

Naturism describes people who advocate nudity as part of their everyday lifestyle. While many naturists will restrict their activities to specially designated areas and/or places where there is a tradition of naked activity (such as nudist beaches), others may wish to enjoy nudity more widely.

Where is Sherwood Forest?

Sherwood Forest is a landscape containing many attractions and public access sites which are run by a range of landowners and managers. It has complicated management boundaries and access, and often leads to confusion. Within this landscape the RSPB manages two connected reserves: the popular woodland tourist site, RSPB Sherwood Forest, and the adjoining much quieter heathland site RSPB Budby South Forest. Both reserves form parts of the protected area known as the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve (NNR).

A small number of naturists have been infrequently walking in the wider Sherwood Forest landscape for several decades. This includes Budby South Forest, which the RSPB has managed since 2014, but also adjacent land managed by Forestry England, as well as parts of the nearby Thoresby and Welbeck Estates and the large Public Right of Way network across the landscape.

It might not be obvious which parts of the Sherwood Forest landscape you’re visiting so we encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with routes and boundaries before walking here.

This policy is only applicable to RSPB managed land.

Naturism at RSPB reserves in the Sherwood Forest area

Since the RSPB has been managing the land at Budby and Sherwood, we’ve followed Government legislation regarding Public Order and Open Access and tolerated naturism in quieter areas of the land that we are responsible for.

RSPB Budby South Forest has historically had a low number of visitors, so encounters between different groups of people have been scarce. An increase in visitors enjoying the reserve means we are now addressing how different groups interreact as meetings between them become more common. This requires some compromise from everyone. Considerate behaviour from all visitors will allow everyone to enjoy the site and still protect sensitive wildlife making a home here.

Our policy accords with the law to protect the right of the wider public from harassment, alarm and distress. The safety and ability to enjoy this wonderful site by all our visitors is paramount. The RSPB understands the need for a balance between the naturist’s right to freedom of expression and laws protecting the wider public from undue distress. The RSPB will review this policy regularly, reacting to the behaviour and response of our visitors on advice of the authorities.

Naturism is discouraged in the very busy RSPB Sherwood Forest area. There are quieter areas of RSPB Budby South Forest (the heathland area), which includes Open Access land where naturism may be tolerated, provided certain behaviours are adhered to.

Please take the time to familiarise yourself with these areas on the accompanying map of Sherwood Forest and Budby South Forest RSPB nature reserves.

Behaviour we expect from our visitors

The RSPB is committed to making your visit as enjoyable as possible. We have a wide range of visitors here and we want all of you, along with the wildlife and the landscape, to feel safe and respected. Please respect other visitors when using the site and follow the guidelines below as they apply to you. 

The RSPB does not tolerate sexual, abusive or intimidating behaviour of any kind under any circumstances. We encourage anyone who feels harassed, alarmed or distressed by the behaviours of others to contact the police as soon as possible.

If you do not wish to encounter naturists, we suggest you use only the routes in RSPB Sherwood Forest where naturism is discouraged. Please be aware that naturists may legally use Public Rights of Way, although this is discouraged in the RSPB Sherwood Forest area due to the high volume of visitors likely to be encountered. You may be more likely to encounter naturists in the Budby South Forest areas.

If you wish to partake in naturism on RSPB land in the Sherwood Forest landscape, please understand that the profile of our visitors is wide ranging and that others may feel alarmed or distressed when they encounter you. We wish to ensure that all visitors feel safe and respected, and able to enjoy their visit.  Please help us by:

  • Walking naked only in areas of the NNR where naturism may be tolerated (subject to behaviours). Naturism is discouraged within the RSPB Sherwood Forest area (see map).
  • Avoiding using busy trails and routes.
  • Not undressing in car parks.
  • Carrying a cover up of some kind to use if you encounter others who are clearly uncomfortable with naturism.