With all our spare time recently taken up with visits to the club and to Faversham it was a pleasant change just over a week ago to get out the camping gear and go off on a camping trip over the late May bank holiday. Having not been anywhere in a tent since August last year, we opened the camping van and selectively pulled out the things we needed. Unfortunately finances being what they are, I’ve not been able to insure the van this year so we’ll just have to use the car unless im lucky enough to get a job in the near future.
The trip we’d planned with 5 others from Arcadians was to the legendary naturist club called Spielplatz in Hertfordshire. Spielplatz (German for playground) is longest operating naturist resort in the United Kingdom, and consists of 12 acres located in the village of Bricket Wood. Spielplatz was founded in 1929 by Charles Macaskie and his wife Dorothy. Charles ‘Mac’ Macaskie, a Scotsman born in 1885, worked as an electrical engineer in London’s Portobello Road. As a child, he had been incarcerated in typically elaborate late-Victorian middle-class children’s wear: tight little suits, stiff collars and cuffs, unyielding footwear.
They became interested in what in the 1920s was called Gymnosophy – a way of making nude sunbathing sound intellectually rigorous. One day he saw an advert in a newspaper asking anyone who was interested to come to Four Acres, a patch of woodland near St Albans in which five gentlemen, including a doctor and a professor, sunbathed in the nude. That’s when he saw a ‘Land For Sale’ sign here in Bricket Wood. They moved from London into a tent on an area of virgin woodland they purchased near Bricket Wood. They called their utopian camp the Green Monastery and a Play Place (Spielplatz).They were joined by other couples and individuals on weekends.
Spielplatz has recently had a change of direction and a change of board members since recently be featured on the Channel 4 documentary called the “Naked Village”. It’s a residential estate, comprising permanent homes and others rented out each summer to seasonal visitors; most of the homes are small chalets lurking amid the foliage of Bricket Wood. The focus of the ‘village’ is a 60ft swimming pool dating from the 1930s, and social life centres around the Clubhouse – a former cricket pavilion, built in 1944, that houses a bar and restaurant, looking on to an immaculately kempt green.
We arrived on the Friday night and after paying our camping fees at the office made our way to our camping pitch just near the old water tower. It was overcast but warm so once parked, off came our clothes and we set about putting the tent up. Our tent is a Kampa make and we’ve had it for around 4 years since our first naturist camping trip to St Anne’s Cottage in Dorset and in all that time we’ve managed to put it up perfectly probably once. After about an hour we’d got everything inside and could relax and have a cuppa.
Saturday was overcast and showery, but Sunday dawn bright but it didn’t last. Over the weekend we had mixed weather enjoyed the company of others who were visiting, enjoyed the ale, visited Sun Folk next door and also enjoyed the disco they had on Sunday evening.
Before we knew it, it was Monday and time to pack up, we did by about 11 had lunch, a second helping of scampi and chips and by about 3pm it was time to get dressed and head for home. Overall we had a good time, just as before although we did notice the atmosphere had changed a little around the place. Even so our enjoyment matched our first visit in 2011 of which I wrote on trip advisor
“A Naturists Dream” (5 stars out of 5)
Despite what people might think about naturism it is a non-sexual, stress free, liberating pastime. Spielplatz is a fine place to practice this pastime as it is secluded while being close to St. Albans and London. There are chalets to let as well as lawns to pitch tents. It has a great pool as well as all the facilities you’d see at all naturist venues. Food is available and there is a bar on site so you can relax in the sun au natural. We enjoyed our stay here and didn’t want to leave.
4 of 5 stars for Value / 4 of 5 stars for Location / 3 of 5 stars for Rooms / 4 of 5 stars for Cleanliness / 4 of 5 stars Service
For details of how to become a member of Spielplatz, write to: Spielplatz Limited, Lye Lane, Bricket Wood, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL2 3TD Website – http://spielplatz.co.uk/