Historians believe they have discovered a complete guide to the places where English people went for open-air sex with strangers in the Middle Ages, a sort of parchment version of the maps featured nowadays on swingers' websites.
“At first, we thought they might be taverns or inns”, said Professor Robert Young, of Merton College, Oxford. “but the inscriptions appended are ratings left by people who'd visited the places, and they leave us in no doubt as to what they were up to”.
Professor Young has compared it with a map of dogging locations on doggingheaven.com and has found an uncanny correspondence between the two, with many places listed on both. “It's fascinating to see how those folkways have persisted unchanged through the centuries and survived so many upheavals in English history”, he said. “ On all those lay-bys dotted along the A1, for instance, which was then the North Road to York. They would have been good places to stop off on a pilgrimage to Canterbury, if the comments are anything to go by”.
The doggers themselves seem equally impressed at the new-found historical pedigree of their pastime. “Yes, that's interesting, I'm sure”, said one man in Offield Services carpark near Leicester, who didn't wish to be named. “I must look it up sometime”, he added, covering his face as he groped for his trousers in the back seat of a Ford Focus.