Activities at Sandy Balls in the New Forest - Falconry

Activities to do at Sandy Balls in the New Forest include a detailed talk on Falconry and the chance to fly an owl


This Easter the family went away to the New Forest.  It's the first time I've ever been or driven through and I'm not sure why so many people were shocked when I told them this?  Is it because it's only an hour and a half drive away from me, classing it as almost 'local'?

Who knows, but anyway, I'm sure it won't be my last!  We stayed at the highly recommended Sandy Balls (yep, we had a snigger at that too, my 5-year-old mostly), and 2 of the many activities on offer over Easter were the Falconry experience and indoor Owl talk both run by Toby Puddle, owner of South Wilts Falconry.

Quite possibly the best day of my holiday!!

The Falconry experience is held in one of the resorts fields.  Out in the open where we got to watch a peregrine falcon fly up over our heads, between us and up towards the trees.  Truly a magnificent bird up close and so beautiful.  I found myself transfixed on the blue feathers!

Peregrine Falcon


video

We all got the opportunity to call Cyril, the Barn Owl over and have him land on our arm.  Even the youngsters got to hold him, and was lovely to see my son so amazed and in awe of these birds.  They have such character and Cyril very much stole the show.

We all got the opportunity to call Cyril, the Barn Owl over and have him land on our arm, even the youngsters got to hold him, and was lovely to see my son so amazed and in awe of these birds.  They have such character and Cyril very much stole the show.

Once we'd finished with the falconry experience we had an hour to spare before popping down to the indoor venue to watching the owl show.

This is not on such a grand scale as the falconry experience due to being indoors and therefore some of the birds are restricted with their flying, but still an opportunity to hold them.

It had worked out rather well for us and another family as the boys had had experience with the birds an hour before, so were less intimidated by them and helped in the audience for Toby to ask questions and to be the first ones to volunteer to hold and fly a bird.  This also helped with other slightly more timid children in the audience to then have a go too.

That being said, I think we all took in a breath when the last owl of the day came out.  A magnificent creature that Max actually asked if he'd been stolen from Harry Potter!

Toby Puddle - South Wilts Falconry

South Wilts Falconry

This was a very well presented, professional and safe experience given to us by Toby Puddle, who is often at Sandy Balls.  He talked a lot about the birds, their habits, the costs and effort it takes looking after these creatures and with 20 years experience there wasn't any question he couldn't answer.  I was so impressed with the afternoon's events, I would highly recommend both the Falconry and Owl experience to anyone visiting Sandy Balls.

I'm just going to finish off by say, if you do go, I so hope you get to meet and fly dotty.  A beautiful little kestrel, who I fell in love with - maybe because she was a noisy little beastie...... who would fit in with my family quite well!

RachaelJess.com

2 comments:

  1. Looks fab. This is somewhere we've considered staying in the past, but ended up elsewhere. After initial shyness, my boys had a go at wearing the glove last year when we went to a display. They then were delighted to have the owl sit there

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    Replies
    1. I highly recommend it, we'll definitely be going back next year.

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