Prested Hall, Prested Hall Chase, Feering, Kelvedon, Essex, CO5 9EE

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Prested Hall is a great launch site for hot air balloon rides in Essex, being midway between Braintree and Colchester while nestling between attractive villages and small towns such as Coggeshall, Feering, Kelvedon and TIptree. If the last place sounds familiar you may have seen it at your breakfast table, it is home of the Wilkin Jam factory. So which ever direction your balloon flight goes, you will be sure to see some fine aerial views of Essex.

The site was recorded in the Doomsday book and the current buildings have timbers dating back to the fifteenth Century. More recently it was the home of the owners of the Hurst Seed company during the early 1900’s. At around that time the area around Kelvedon and Feering had become one of the premier seed growing areas of the country. Indeed in 1895 Hurst Seeds beat Sutton Seeds in a famous “friendly” a cricket match here.

An aerial picture of Prested Hall on balloon rides over Essex

Passengers look out to the River Blackwater Estuary for a fine aerial view on a balloon ride over Essex

The current owners since 1994 have restored the then near derelict Grade II listed building to its present state along with its 80 acres of grounds.

Prested Hall is also conveniently positioned close to the centre of over 7,000 acres of land managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust which includes 87 nature reserves and 2 nature parks.

The closest town just west of the hall is Kelvedon which has over 100 listed buildings, one of the best being Greys Mill, a Grade II listed building on Maldon Road. Drift further west of Kelvedon and you may see one of the most unusual views of the area, the burned out remains of Felix Hall. Although it looks derelict, a dwelling exists within the walls of the main house of this 300 year old Georgian mansion which was wrecked by a blaze in 1940. The property has recently come onto the market due to the death of the most recent occupants who lived here since 1953.

Coggeshall to the north of the Hall is a pretty market town straddling the Roman road of Stane Street with over 300 listed buildings, many of them timbered. With a thriving antiques trade it is no surprise that it was often used for location shooting of BBC TV’s Lovejoy series. To the south west is the Georgian town of Witham which sits on the River Brain just before it joins the Blackwater. This is where the novelist Dorothy L Sayers lived and wrote from 1929 to 1957 but the town equally has claim to fame with its Neolithic and Roman remains recently unearthed during the building of new housing development.

Slightly north of Witham is Silver End, the village playing host to Crittal Windows from the 1920’s and the airfield of the same name being one of may World War II airfields constructed for the American Air Force. Little remains of the airfield now which is now a series of gravel pits

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An aerial view of the unusual remains of Felix Hall near Kelvedon Essex by balloon flight

A fine aerial view floating over Greys Mill Kelvedon

A fine aerial view floating over Greys Mill Kelvedon

Watching another balloon flying close to Witham in Essex

Watching another balloon flying close to Witham in Essex

A balloon flies over the gravel pits at Silver End Airfield

A balloon flies over the gravel pits at Silver End Airfield

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