Set in the golden sand dunes of Hayle in west Cornwall, Sandy Acres is a unique collection of luxury, architect-designed eco timber frame lodges.
They’re built on stilts to encourage habitat regeneration and allow the movement of loose sand on the dunes.
One of the largest privately-owned beach frontages in the area, the 200-acre site is run by the Williams family which is committed to enhancing and protecting this acutely environmentally-sensitive location.
We spoke to Claire Williams about her vision for Sandy Acres, which has been in her family since 1954, and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome to realise their dream:
“We had caravans on the site in the 1970s and 1980s, and residential caravans for almost 20 years after that. We struggled for years to get planning permission for anything more permanent. But it was pretty tatty and wasn’t generating much income. We suffered from fly tipping in the car park and even had burnt out cars dumped there until we started securing the land at night.
“I had a vision for the site so we decided to try for planning permission one last time. We were recommended to approach Laurence Associates and they came on board.
“We built up a relationship with Natural England, which wrote a letter in support of our application for the lodges, and we came up with a management plan for the area to re-establish the habitats. We wanted to do something in keeping with the environment and are keen to promote eco tourism.
“Our starting point was the lodge site, which has changed beyond recognition. It’s been a massive investment.
“Outside of the lodges, we have started tarmacing the road to the beach and put up new fences to protect the land and encourage rehabilitation of the dunes.
“By creating a viable business, we’ll be better able to properly manage the land and protect it for generations to come.
“We all love Sandy Acres. It’s our home and a way of life for us, and we are determined to do the right thing by it.”