Disgraceful antics or harmless fun? Welwyn Hatfield's dogging hotspots revealed
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Saucy websites and their users have been promoting Welwyn Hatfield as the place to go for outdoor romps, the Welwyn Hatfield Times can reveal.
The revelation comes after this newspaper reported last week how police caught an amorous couple enjoying themselves in the back of a van on the hard-shoulder of the A1(M) at Welwyn.
The act of dogging, which is the practice of watching or engaging in sexual activity in a public places, often happens in the borough, often according to the website Let’s Go Dogging.
The site, which has 102,460 Hertfordshire members, tweeted on June 10 that WGC is known for “secret dogging sessions”.
It also tweeted in April that a large organised meet-up was planned to take place in Hatfield.
In May the site dubbed Hatfield and WGC a “trucker’s dogging heaven” and also stated that “many” meet-ups take place in Potters Bar.
It seems Welwyn Hatfield has had a reputation for raunchy encounters for sometime, with website Swinging Heaven stating in 2013 that WGC was a “dogging hotspot” and possibly one of the most popular in Europe.
The Welwyn Hatfield Times spoke to two people who often go dogging in the area, agreeing to keep the individuals anonymous.
The man in his twenties travels 20 minutes across Hertfordshire to go dogging in Sherrardspark Wood and the Stanborough Lakes car park.
He said: “They are good spots to go to, away from houses and off a side road so almost no one will interrupt the love-making session.”
A 19-year-old said she started participating in dogging with her partner because she still lives under her parents’ roof.
She said: “We like the thrill of it and after discovering it, we just couldn’t stop.
“If people are watching, it adds to the experience.”
According to Herts Police, although dogging is not explicitly banned by one particular law, there are a multitude of offences you could be charged with.
These include indecent exposure, public lewdness and gross indecency.
A police spokesman said: “The constabulary would always seek a proportionate response according to the particular circumstances.
“However, ultimately people caught dogging could be prosecuted under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 or under the common law offence of outraging public decency.”
A spokesman for Greenwich Leisure Limited, which looks after Stanborough Lakes on behalf of Welwyn Hatfield Council, has said that they have not received any reports of this activity at the park for many years.
The GLL spokesman added: “In addition to improved lighting and CCTV, we continue to work in close partnership with the police and local council to keep Stanborough Park safe and fun for the local community.
“Anyone with any concerns can call the police on 101.”
Another area with a reputation for outdoor liaisons is the B653 Marford Road lay-by next to woodland on the Brocket Hall estate.
Perhaps visitors enjoy the fact that there is screening from the road and you can wander into the wood.
One walker told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “When I was walking my dog in that little area of woodland, I was disgusted to see evidence of sexual encounters.
“If you are going to do that sort of thing, at least take your rubbish home with you.
“I don’t object to people having a bit of fun, they’re not harming anyone else, but they need to clear up afterwards.
“I haven’t been back since.
“There are definitely more pleasant places to walk the dog.”
Dogging websites have documented for years that sex acts have been going on across the borough, including FunSwingers which listed Stanborough Lakes, the Galleria car park, Ayot Green and side roads in Codicote as prime locations.
One FunSwinger user wrote in 2016: “The lakes win hands down, in a manner of speaking lol.”
The same user also stated that a lot of group sex and wife swapping sexual activities occur.
Another user commented in 2017 that the Galleria was a “great location” to meet up with students. In 2016, a husband wrote that he often went to Ayot Green with his wife and invited others to join them.
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