“ Camping site located in the New Forest, Godshill, Nr Fordingbridge, Hampshire SP6 2JZ. Tel: +44(0)1425 657707. „
Last week we went to Sandy Balls holiday camp and stayed in the camping section in our own tent.
We stayed at pitched 30 - 39 North fields which is a small cul-de-sac area of the campsite.
The complex is situated in the New Forest and has many wonderful walking areas and places of outstanding beauty.
We stayed for 4 days and 3 nights and found that the complex is very well catered. There is a local shop in the main plaza that sells everything you could need for a short break (bit pricey but to be expected).
We had a meal in the pub on the last evening and found the quality of the food to be very high. Price wise it was less than £40 for a family of 2 adults and 2 children including drinks.
There is also a pizza restaurant that we got a takeaway pizza from on another evening that was very tasty and not overly expensive either.
The facilities are very well maintained indeed.
A nice thing about this complex is that even though we visited during peak season it never seemed busy or uncomfortable.
We have just returned from a small group trip to Sandy Balls - three families all with children under three and several novice campers. We had a fab time! This is just a snapshot of our experiences, and does not include details on all facilities.
We camped with all our own equipment on the seasonal 'Cornfield' field which offered grass pitches (as opposed to gravel / hardstanding) as it was August (two extra fields are opened to deal with extra campers during the peak month). Facilities on this field were basic, but more than sufficient - several blocks of toilets, with 3 loos and 3 showers for each gender, and 2 washing up sinks with drainers. All blocks were effectively cleaned by site staff every afternoon. A campsite 'warden' was on site between 10 and 7 every day, helping new arrivals and dealing with any problems or queries. A very professional set up - and we hadn't even seen the main holiday centre yet!
The outdoor swimming pool looked like a continental pool - very nice indeed -complete with loungers and ice-cream seller! The pool itself was very, very cold - more than bracing. As it was high season, the indoor pool was running hourly sessions - which worked very well - all facilities were clean, and chemical levels were checked whilst we were there.
The shop was very well stocked, complete with bakery and freezer section, as well as the expected tins and jars. Some high end goods on offer too. Prices were reasonable - slightly more than 'corner shop' prices.
At all points staff were friendly and helpful, although the on-site 'pub' was apparently having problems with their credit card facilities which made staff a little fractious.
As a driver you must be very careful - children on bikes go where they like!
Outdoor facilities like the play areas were excellent for the young family members - and well built to cater for several age groups, seperated enough for safety and ease of use, but all within eye sight of parents.
I thought it was expensive, but with hindsight, generally it was good value for money.
we arrived at sandy balls on friday 27th july in the pouring rain we were booked for two weeks in the ready tents. we were told not to insult them by arriving before 3pm as it took them this time to clean the tents and get it all tip top and bristol fashion ( i don't think) the tents we had two next to each other 30 and 31 the first thing we noticed was one of the inner tents had collasped and the rubber bands were perished and we could no longer use them. the cooker was a bit old and the grill pan would hold 1 slice of toast. the whole out side of the tents were not pinned down as all the bands had perished. the zip on tent 30 was not working and after 14days had become a real problem getting up or down. The mud at the front door was at least two inches thick and you could not get into the tents without going through this with 4 children under 6 not very good. we stopped a passing van and a lady said she would report these things. at approx 8.30 we had to make a dash to the on site shop to buy string to replace bands and to get the inner tents up so we could put the children to bed. in the morning we asked if this could be rectifeld and our money for string was refunded!. We asked if we could have something put down infront of tents and on return this was quickly done and bark was put down which did the job. it wasnt until we had been there a week that we were pegged down on the outside (lucky no high winds!!)The toilet block which was northfield was a mess there was paper and rubbish every were , i can understand this is not sandy balls fault as it is the camper which are the dirty b-----s. we were told the toilets and showers were cleaned everyday at 11 o clock so this is the best time to use after they have been cleaned as after this they begin to dirty! very quickly. the hand dryer did not work and it was only after complaining 4 times that finally on day 12 of our 14 days it was replaced i found out from a fellow camper that this dryer had been there the year before, why had no one else complained.we discovered loads of people had complained about northfield toilet block but it didnt get any better in the two weeks we were there. this blocks do need to be cleaned at least three times a day. there was also no rubbish bin so the sanitary bins were always overflowing as people were putting tissues cotton wool dirty nappies all in these bins. I also complained about this and on the forth day a bins was connected to the wall under the dryer. we did have a great holiday as there was 17 of us 12 in ready tents and 5 in their own tent also on northfield, but as we paid £772.00 for each tent we were expecting a better standard of hygiene. We also had to use the chemical toilet disposible room! as we had children that use buckets in the night , this was overflowing all over the floor on three occasions which was wonderful on early morning trips over there ,just before breakfast!! i think sandy balls is a wonderful camp if you are using static caravans of the wonderful lodges but if you have to use the toilet and showers in the block be prepared for the worse, i do wonder if this is the fact that i am a 54 year old granny who has not camped since my children were small but in The Good Old Days campers would not have dreamed of leaving the dirt and filth behind them, perhaps we no longer train our children to clean behind them or do people live like this in their own homes, i do wonder.
Sandy Balls is situated at the western end of Godshill village, a little
more than a mile from Fordingbridge on the B3078.
From the east, leave the M27 at Junction 1 signposted New Forest/
Lyndhurst/Cadnam A337 and at the end of the slip road, take the
third exit B3078 to Fordingbridge.
From the west, follow the A31 to Ringwood until the turning onto the
A338 to Salisbury, and then take the B3078 for about 11/2 miles.
From the north, follow the A338 through Salisbury to Fordingbridge
and then take the B3078 to Godshill.
The above information has been taken from the Sandy Balls Website. The rest of this review is all my own.
I have been to Sandy Balls several times in the last couple of years and enjoyed myself even though the visits have been working holidays.
Do visit the website, the brochure has some lovely pictures.
I have had a look at the website again and see on the link below there is news and special offers.
May 2004, weekend, 3 nights £323 two bed roomed lodge.
May 2005 monday to friday for 4 nights £548 three bed roomed lodge.
This is an example of breaks mid May 2005. Prices vary, bank holiday times are more expensive and of course mid summer is also quite a bit more.
Brochure downloaded from above Website.
Map and directions included.
Away from the stresses of daily living.
Last summer I supported three people to have a short holiday at Sandy Balls holiday centre, one time I went with a lady on her own for a weekend and the other time two of us went with two people who wanted a more lively holiday full of fun.
Sandy Balls Holiday Centre is in the north- west part of The New Forest, near a village called Fordingbridge.The first time I went there were just two of us and we stayed in a two bedroomed lodge. The second time there were four of us. There are lodges, caravans and pitches for tents there. We stayed in a lodge, which was spotlessly clean and well equipped.
Our check in time was 15.00hrs and we managed to arrive just a few minutes beforehand. The reception staff were friendly and helpful. The literature given us was clear and precise. Very informative. The facilities and attractions are well signposted.
The Spa shop is well stocked with all the things we forgot, plus all the things we didnt know we might want. Prices were more expensive than in large supermarkets, but for the things we forgot and a few extra treats we found it very convenient to shop there.
The gift shop is a treasure trove, with all the usual souvenirs plus information of the surrounding area and attractions. We wanted to go to various places which weren't on our map and asked a staff member who pointed it out on their map so that we saved on more maps of the area. The one supplied in our info pack was plenty good enough for us once we knew which villages these attractions were in.
The activity centre and play area outside looked good but we didnt have children so didnt use them.
There is a programme of activities for children that we didn't make use of (all being oldish) but which looked brilliant for families of young children. I rather fancied Clay Play myself.
You get a free pass for swimming for the time you stay there.The swimming pools are lovely, the inside heated one is kept warm enough for most people. In busy times they operate 11/2 hourly sessions which I think is probably long enough for most people to stay in water. The outside one was quite busy even though the weather wasnt that great. I put my hand in but it was too chilly for me to swim in.
The food in both Valencias pizza restaurant and the Woodside pub/inn restaurant was good although I thought expensive. My trouble is I dont eat out often in England so dont have anything to compare prices with but I usually think that all holiday places are more expensive than village pubs etc. The take away was sufficient. Not the best I have had but good enough.
But where are all the lodges? Drive slowly along a narrow road and look there is one, and there is another just along there surrounded by trees and naturally planted flowerbeds. All seem to have enough space around them to feel alone in the Forest if that is what you want. Nice amount of parking space by each lodge. The caravans looked from outside to be just as big as the lodges with just as much room around them. I had expected there to be row upon row of lodges and was pleasantly surprised with the lay out and the amount of space.
The second time I went we stayed in one of their 18 new lodges and it was superb, even better than the first one which I was totally impressed with.
Inside was another nice surprise. The kitchen area is large enough and well enough equipped for cooking main meals if wanted. On the first break that I took I cooked our main meals as well as did a bit of baking. On the second break we shared cooking and ate out quite a lot. There is a microwave, toaster, gas cooker and plenty of crockery/cutlery. The only thing that would have made a difference to me would have been a washing machine, but there is an airer rail to put over the balcony so most things dried ok and a laundrette if it rains or you have a large party and need to keep the laundry done.
The dining area was ample, nice wooden table and chairs and the bedrooms big enough.
The beds were all made up on arrival and looked very inviting. The mattresses are plastic covered so kept clean and hygienic. The beds actually didnt feel that comfortable but we all seemed to sleep like logs, with no waking in the night so they must have been more comfortable than I first thought.
The second time I went there were four of us, we had three bedrooms, all big enough for comfort and not getting in anyones way too much. I shared with another carer and we didnt feel crowded. The master bedroom in the second lodge had its own en suite shower room with toilet and basin also. There was a bath with shower in the main bathroom. Having two toilets was very handy.
The outside area is well laid out with built in barbeque, bench style table and seats, lots of grass surrounding each lodge between trees giving that feeling of isolation.
They say no ball games but one family in the distance were playing badminton, not sure if that counts, I would have thought so long as people were sensible ball games shouldn't be a problem as there was so much space around each lodge.
The New Forest is beautiful, it needs no advertising really, we drove slowly and saw numerous ponies. What more could anyone want?? We didn't stop and walk because of the people we were with but walking amongst all those trees and all that peace and quiet would be blissful.
Sandy Balls seems to be a great place to have an activity holiday, with paid for cycle hire, pony trekking and fishing on the river Avon. We just spent a peaceful few days, touring round the countryside and visiting local places of interest.
Within easy travelling distance are Marwell Zoo, Monkey World, Longleat and Beaulieu. There are several villages with the usual pub serving home cooked (?) fare as well.
Some of the lodges allow pets, two per party, some of the lodges allow smoking, some of them allow neither. So there is accommodation to suit all.
My colleague and I both agreed that we did very little and it was very restful but by the end of each day we were totally exhausted. Must have been the fresh air or the slow pace of life. I could get used to it and spend my life there. (So long as I had my own washing machine and dogs and come to think of it husband, I do miss him while away.)I had better put here just so long as the family came to visit also.
Would I recommend it?
If you have children, dogs, people who need a quiet break or none of these and just like to laze around in the countryside, if you are young, old, in the middle or even if you have a disability, there are a couple of disabled lodges but these do get booked up early. Yes to everyone as it gives one time to sit and think and get away from daily life. Oh and of course yes if you fish!!!
Thanks for reading this
The criteria only offers caravan or tent, and caravan is the closest, although our lodge was more spacious and comfortable than I would expect a caravan to be.
I have just returned from a 5 day stay at Sandy Balls New Forest Country Holiday park. It was lovely. The weather wasn't so good and the foot and mouth restrictions stopped us from taking full advantage of the new forest, but even with this in mind, we had a great, relaxing time. Sandy Balls holiday centre is situated in Godshill, near Fordingbridge on the north-west edge of the New Forest within 25 acres. and is made up of lodges, caravans and facilities for tourers and campers. We stayed in a lodge. Our party consisted of myself, my husband and our two year old daughter. The lodge was warm, clean, well stocked of plates, pots, pans, cutlery. It also included a fridge, oven, microwave, hoover a sofa-bed, a double bed, and a bedroom with two-single beds (we had one removed so that we could easily put the supplied cot (for £10) in the bedroom. The bathroom had a bath with shower and each bedroom had a closet with some hangers, and a small dresser. The television, though smallish, for those who wish to watch tv while amidst this lovely scenery has satellite channels. When the weather is nice we took advantage of the deck, my two year old loved running from the lounge, out the french windows onto the deck and round to the kitchen door. There was also a bbq outside which we didn't use. The facilities around the site included cycle hire (which was closed while we were there), and stables - £15/hour (which was also closed). The Activity Centre had a huge room with a soft toy and ball pool play area for toddlers which we couldn't get my daughter out of, and Forest Edge Leisure Centre has a swimming pool with two small triangular kiddy pools, steam room, jacuzzi, a gym, toning tables, massage. There are charges for the cycling, riding, toning tables and massage. There were swimming lessons for children and toddlers/babies. The swimming sessions for parents and tots (3 months - 4 years) costs £2.00 per session (2 hours) and
was on twice a week while we were there. We didn't take advantage of this and just took our daughter in when we wanted - there were no restrictions on that. The site also has a well stocked Spar shop,Valencio's pizza restaurant, Woodside pub/inn restaurant, a gift shop, laundry facilities, shower blocks, and recycling and refuse sheds. In the Woodside pub we had three meals, including a child's meal for £14 and the plates were so full we couldn't finish it. We paid £175 for 4 night, 5 days in a forest lodge which included £10 for cot hire and £10 for high chair hire. This of course is one of the cheaper times of year and goes up from there. You can check out the site and all the prices, lodges on their nicely done website: www.sandy-balls.co.uk I would highly recommend this site and we want to go back. I'm sure if my daughter could, she would also say it was great - she loved the pool, the soft play area, the walks every morning, the birds and Sammy squirrel (who visited for her rich tea biscuits every morning and evening). Everyday it was "outside Mummy, Daddy" and the wellies would go on. What more recommendation could anyone need. Couldn't check how many pitches there are - as the website wasn't working yesterday but check the site for the various types and numbers of accommodation.
Situated at Godshill, Fordingbridge in the New Forest, we stayed at this site for 10 days during the summer. It is set in it's own extensive grounds with open fields for caravans and tents, and woodland sites with static mobile homes for hire. The woodland stretches downhill to the River Avon where there is a large maintained meadow for sun bathing. Fishing is by permit. Bathing is not allowed (but people do...) There is a large indoor and outdoor swimmimng pool; a dry sauna and a steam sauna along with a jaccuzzi. In the main complex is a club house with fast food restaurant open from breakfast until late. Bars are open all day and serve hot meals too. There is also a Pasta restaurant on site. In addition there is a very well stocked SPAR shop selling fresh meat / dairy produce as well as fresh fruit/veg; a large range of store cupboard goods, wfrozen foods ,wines, beers and spirits and camping supplies. I found the store inexpensive compared to supermarkets. Great value. For the children, there is an activity centre where they can play table tennis and pool and the site organises art/craft/drama type activities every day. The caravan sites mostly have waste drainage, water hook up , electricity and TV points. Once set up, it is great not to have to empty the waste water and fill up the fresh water!! As parents of a 15 year old boy and 10 year old girl, we love the security that enables them to wander off and do whatever THEY want to do, without Mum and Dad always watching them. They love this freedom and made new friends within about 20 minutes of arriving! For us, we can just relax with a glass of orange, ahem. Bliss. There is so much more to this park, don't be put off by the cost - £20 ish per night. It really is worth a visit.