To most, naturism is a hobby which raises a few eyebrows and prompts a titter or two.

But to those who regularly shed their clothes, it is a chance to get back to nature and an great way to combat the stresses of everyday life.

Jennie Trisnan was introduced to naturism around three years ago and hasn't looked back since. She spends most weekends indulging her hobby at one of two clubs close to Croydon and insists they are just like any other social club. Except that sports, amateur dramatics, dancing and drinking in the club bar is all done in the nude.

"I had done the occasional bit of nude sunbathing on beaches in the past," says Jennie, a 56-year-old holistic therapist. "But I never gave it serious thought until three years ago.

"There's a big difference between nudist beaches and proper naturist clubs. Most people who sunbathe nude are not what we would call proper naturists because their reasons or doing it are not the same as ours.

"It's not about looking at other people or doing it for the benefit of other people. For us, it's all about feeling free and liberated and being close to nature."

According to Jennie, a large number of naturists choose to keep their pastime private to avoid being judged by their cloth-wearing contemporaries and clubs are keen to preserve members' privacy.

She explains: "You are generally introduced by another member and you can usually tell immediately if someone is there for the wrong reasons.

"I suppose I have what you might call an average type of body, but there are people of all shapes and sizes at the club and no one feels uncomfortable about it.

"It's the freedom of not wearing clothes that naturists enjoy, not looking at other people's bodies."

Jennie divides her free time between two naturist clubs, the Naturist Foundation in Orpington and, when it gets a bit colder, the White House in Caterham, which boasts a sauna.

She adds: "For me it's like being primitive. Being at one with nature and leaving the outside world behind you. I'll often take a tent and just go to the club for the weekend and relax.

"I like to go barefoot, even when I'm walking in the woods. The only thing I will wear occasionally is a scarf when it gets a bit cold."

"My family don't mind really. I don't tell everyone in my life because people do tend to judge you, but the ones who do know think it fits in with my personality."

Jennie believes her passion is something she shares with a significant portion of the population - even if they don't yet know it.

She says: "I'm convinced many people would think about giving it a go, they are just stopped by what other people might think.

"Doesn't everybody want to feel free and liberated? Just to be accepted for who they are? I am sure many people want that but are just too scared to try it."