WITH International travel not set to return until May 17 at the very earliest, many will be planning to spend their time off in the UK – including one local holiday camp with a entertaining name.

Sandy Balls, whose unusual moniker has no doubt raised more than a few smiles in its century-long existence, will no doubt be a desirable destination for many.

It was back in the reign of Henry VII that the name “Sandyballas’’ first appeared on documents and maps, which was the description given to the dome-shaped sand and gravel outcrops on the centre’s western boundary. They were formed millennia ago during what is known as the Eocene era.

Many of these outcrops remain, including Good Friday Hill and Giant’s Grave, and it’s for them that Sandy Balls Holiday Centre, near Fordingbridge, is named.

The estate, 120 acres of woods and parkland bordering the River Avon, was bought by Ernest Westlake in 1919 and the holiday centre was founded by his son, Dr Aubrey Westlake, in the 1920s.

Bournemouth Echo:

The Westlake family connection continues to this day and with it their founding principles, that Sandy Balls should be a conservation area accessible to lovers of natural beauty.

Ernest Westlake set up an alternative youth initiative to the Scout Movement – The Order of Woodcraft Chivalry – in 1916, three years before he purchased Sandy Balls.

With his son, Aubrey, he built a woodland campsite and education centre, where people could develop woodcraft, self-sufficiency, carpentry, agricultural techniques and house building skills.

By 1935 Aubrey began to develop the family holiday side of a business which now welcomes thousands of guests annually to log cabins and static caravan holiday homes.

Bournemouth Echo:

To mark the camp's 100th anniversary June 1999 was packed with entertainment and amusements.

At the opening a new adventure playground for youngsters guests were treated to an afternoon of fin with a barbecue, games, activities, music and a treasure hunt.

Their centenary weekend was marked with a celebration of the forest as visitors got to enjoy an outdoor cinema, kids activities and other forms of entertainment.