Original article from Kent Live
People are returning to woodland just outside Tunbridge Wells for illicit sexual encounters as the country emerges from lockdown.
It was “freedom day” last month – but even before the last of the restrictions ended, those looking for intimacy with strangers were once again hooking up near Eridge.
There was once underwear strewn on hedges and trees, perhaps to signal the location of the hook-up site on the A26 layby, but it was removed at least a year ago.
But despite no obvious signs of what goes on a short walk into the trees – which are close to some of the area’s most stunning countryside views – the nocturnal mating den is allegedly back in “full swing”.
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A 30-year-old man who has visited the site several times and once in recent weeks, said people were now returning for the late-night trysts.
'Everyone was in high spirits. I counted four other men there'
The man, who has two degrees and a profession, wished to remain anonymous.
He told KentLive: “I know from the grapevine that the majority of people stopped going during lockdown and other restrictions, especially before the jabs.
“The dogging scene is back in full swing. It’s been like every other pastime really. Numbers are quite good, to be honest. I think people were fed-up in general. Everyone was in high spirits. I counted four other men there,” he said.
Talking of protection against the virus, he said: “People don’t wear masks as it’s outside and a few people sanitise, although most used wet wipes even before the pandemic.
“Normal precautions are taken regarding sex. The virus isn’t really a concern now that most people are double jabbed and the direct contact is restricted to the sex stuff, people rarely kiss etc,” he said.
He said he didn’t make special journeys for the encounters from his home more than 200 miles away, but combined them when he travelled for work.
“I assume the other people are local given their accents. It’s a fair trek for me. I don’t go all that way just for that!” he said.
The location of the meet-up is the same and it is still more men than women who attend, he said. But it was not a “hotspot” for such romping sessions, he said.
According to Swinging Heaven, dogging is a predominantly British activity that involves outdoor exhibitionism in car-parks, wooded areas and the like.
But is it illegal? Short answer – no. Contrary to popular belief, there's not one explicit law against dogging.
However there are a multitude of offences anyone caught doing the dirty in public could be charged with and the police will take swift action if people start getting offended by late night antics.
You could be charged under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 with indecent exposure, public lewdness and gross indecency – to name a few.
'The knickers are no more'
“I don’t get the impression that particular site is a hotspot where people travel ages just to go there,” said the man, who dates women in “real life”.
“The knickers are no more, so they’ve either blown away or someone’s nabbed them to put in the bin,” he said.
Previously a nearby farmer told us he was well aware of the goings-on in the woods, saying it had been going on for at least five years.
“It’s dogging. We try to ignore it, because it’s not what we’re about. In the summer it increases a bit,” he said.
Sussex Police said officers had checked report logs and could “currently find no records of complaints or issues relating to this location”.