The name of this holiday village puts a smile on your face before you have even arrived. Only a couple of hours drive in our new motorhome and we were on the edge of the New Forest just outside the picturesque village of Fordingbridge. We had chosen this particular campsite because of the facilities on site, not least the indoor pool (no chance of rain and cold spoiling our break), two restaurants (no intention of cooking on this occasion either) and a well-stocked Village Store with fresh bread and pastries available daily.
The second week of the Easter school holidays proved to be the best of the two, infact we couldn’t believe our luck with the weather and even got our shorts out. We were so pleased that we had left it to the last minute as usual and not decided to book. Have to admit we are not those staunch campers who are determined to enjoy themselves no matter what the weather. We would rather have our fun in the sun, with good facilities and services to hand, at least, until we get a bit more confident and adventurous in our travels with “Maurice”.
We are relatively new to motorhoming, having only hired them before to travel round France. It is now our intention to start a new chapter of our lives and try a more flexible approach to getting away when the mood takes us, instead of waiting for the two week planned (months ahead) vacation, that we have never been very good at organising and usually ends up last minute and very expensive.
So here we go, off to Sandy Balls for our first proper staycation in “Maurice” the Motorhome – yes, that’s his name and what a lovely time we had.
It’s a large site, very family and pet friendly and with accommodation to suit all. There are Lodges and Caravan holiday homes set in the trees, some of the lodges perched high on hilltops have stunning views out across the Avon Valley. There are also Camping ‘Pods’ although they didn’t look overly big, Bell Tents and lots of touring pitches varying in size, shape and services to choose from.
Our route to Sandy Balls took us through the forest and across heathland where wild ponies and donkeys were grazing freely. Even though it was too early in the year for the trees to be in their full glory, it was still beautiful, in a different way, from our home in the Essex countryside and we enjoyed the change of scenery.
At the holiday village there was lots going on to keep active, cycle hire, archery, swimming (Piratemania water activity for the kids), alpaca walking and a riding stables just down the road, Arniss Equestrian, a half hour pony ride definitely made our daughter’s day.
I found the food very satisfactory and the staff more than accommodating to our needs.
After a long winter of braving the daily dog walk through wind and rain and yet more wind, we were rewarded with a lovely sunny day to enjoy the highlight of our stay (according to me), wandering around the 120 acres of woods and parkland on the fun Forest Trail, searching for hidden numbers along the way!
Since returning home, the place continues to put a smile on my face, as it seems everyone I have mentioned it to has been there, and everyone remembers the name, Sandy Balls!