A giant 27ft totem pole hand-carved over the last two years by hundreds of guests has now taken pride of place in the Sandy Balls central piazza. In celebration of Sandy Balls' 90th birthday, the 2.5 tonne pole was carefully craned into position alongside The Old Oak – one of the oldest trees at Sandy Balls. The colourful totem pole, which overlooks the central piazza, is a fantastic 360-degree piece of art. The symbols which include animals, woodland scenes and log cabins were carved by children, guests, staff and neighbours and tell the story of Sandy Balls’ 90-year history. The transformation from Scots Pine to totem pole was the brainchild of Sandy Balls’ managing director, Tim Howell and director Lynden Bowen – great granddaughter of Sandy Balls’ founder Ernest Westlake and wife of Clive who designed and supervised the carving of the structure. It was carved from a tree felled as part of the centre’s £500,000 forestry management scheme – an ambitious 30-year environmental plan to help return the 120-acre woodland to its native state. Tim explains: “The tree was fantastic, even if not a natural inhabitant of the New Forest, and with our record for sustainability and commitment to preserve the environment which makes Sandy Balls so special, we felt it seemed right that it should in some way play its part. “Sandy Balls has been owned by the Westlake family for 90 years and although it has obviously changed enormously in that time, family on every level is still at its core. A totem pole traditionally depicts symbols representing unity, tradition and pride. The idea was born – but the concept had to be moved to reality – and it was family who made that happen!” Clive Bowen, a former craft, design and technology teacher with an obvious creative flair, set up a carving station in the central piazza to enable visitors, guests, staff and neighbours to play their part. Under his guiding eye, children and adults alike have picked up a chisel and had a hand in transforming this tree. Ernest Westlake set up an alternative youth initiative to the Scout Movement – The Order of Woodcraft Chivalry in 1916. In 1919 he purchased Sandy Balls and worked with his son Aubrey to create a woodland campsite and education centre where people could develop woodcraft skills, self-sufficiency, carpentry, agricultural techniques and house building. By 1935 Aubrey had begun to develop the family holiday side of a business which now welcomes thousands of guests annually to its luxurious log cabins and static caravan holiday homes. Drawing inspiration from the rich heritage of the New Forest and the people, places and events which have played a part in the evolution of Sandy Balls as an award-winning holiday destination, Clive incorporated birds and animals, woodland scenes, caravans, log cabins, Morris Men and even teepee tents in his evocative design which is crowned by a magnificent Golden Eagle – the name given to Aubrey Westlake as head of The Order of Woodcraft Chivalry.
UK holidays, weekend breaks and short breaks at Sandy Balls Holiday Centre set in the New Forest National Park. We provide high quality holiday accommodation in luxury lodges and caravans and we also cater for tourers and campers. We have a range of facilities including a restaurant, pub, beauty suite,cycle centre and two swimming pools. There is also fantastic activties for all from archery and laser clay pigeon shooting to team games, arts and crafts and much more!