Cambridge students protest as meadow closed to stop dangerous behaviour

King’s College has closed Grantchester Meadows after an increase in anti-social behaviour (Picture: Bav Media/Getty Images)

Skinny-dipping Cambridge students are protesting after a spot where they have punted, partied and frolicked naked for decades was closed.

Grantchester Meadows — including Byron’s Pool, named after the 19th century poet who swam there — was where poet Rupert Brooke and writer Virginia Woolf bathed nude in the early 1900s.

Owner King’s College has now introduced a ban to prevent dangerous and anti-social behaviour at the spot on the River Cam.

It comes after nearby roads and drives have been blocked and residents abused.

A statement explained the reasoning behind the move, reading: ‘Grantchester Meadows has become a frequent site for large gatherings of individuals entering the River Cam under the influence of alcohol and other drugs, and subsequently requiring emergency medical assistance.’

Within 24 hours of a notice going up, 8,000 had signed a protest petition.

Organiser Camila Isley called the meadows ‘an asset of community value for over 500 years’.

She added: ‘This will prevent people swimming or pulling up to the meadows in a canoe, punt or similar vessel. Closing this stretch will shut down traditions dear to the people of Cambridge.’

Picture supplied by Bav Media 07976 880732. Picture shows people swimming and boating in the River Cam by Grantchester Meadows in Cambridgeshire. King???s College Cambridge have banned people from entering to swim or use boats on this stretch of the river. Furious locals are petitioning after King???s College BANNED swimming at idyllic Grantchester Meadows in Cambridge ??? where writer Virginia Woolf and poet Rupert Brooke used to bathe naked. Residents have launched a petition after landowners King???s College stopped swimmers from entering the River Cam at Grantchester, where the pastime has been enjoyed for more than 500 YEARS. The Cambridge University college has made the decision following reports of antisocial behaviour in the Meadows, including drinking and drug taking. They also say the overuse of the riverbank has led to erosion. The college, which has also banned the launching of boats, kayaks and paddleboards from the beauty spot, has now put up signs along the river bank and plans to patrol the stretch of water to make sure they are obeyed. SEE COPY CATCHLINE University bans Grantchester meadow swimmers

People swimming in the River Cam by Grantchester Meadows in Cambridgeshire (Picture: Bav Media)

Writer and Emmanuel College fellow Robert Macfarlane — a patron of the Outdoor Swimming Society — tweeted: ‘Terrible decision.

‘The river here has been used by the community for centuries. There has to be a better solution.’

Dr Veronika Dobler added: ‘Beautiful, famous Grantchester Meadows has been an important free recreational resource… especially in the pandemic.’

Student Hannah Huang said: ‘I wonder if they could bring it back with limitations on swimming/barbecue hours.’

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