Ian and Barbara Pollard purchased the 16th century former Benedictine abbey in 1994 and set to work refurbishing its overgrown five-acre grounds. The couple’s fame spread beyond Malmesbury when a BBC team came to film the work and noticed their penchant for gardening in the nude.
After the special aired under the title “The Naked Gardeners,” the Pollards were flooded with calls and emails from naturists around the country: “If you want to go down to your garden naked, can we come and do it too?” Ian recalled. The first clothing-optional day was in 2003, and it’s been a perennial fixture since.
Nudity is welcome, but not required. Signs posted at the entrances inform potential visitors that they may strip or stay dressed as they choose. Although the Thomases reported seeing a skittish group turn away at the sign, other dressed guests said they were unfazed by the fauna on display.