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We are Will and Sammy King and we would love to show you the other side of Essex at Feather Down’s latest farm - an Essex full of seductive wildness and painterly landscapes, all just a stone’s throw from London.
The fourth generation at Malting farm, Will’s great-grandfather bought the land just after World War One, and we now run it with Will’s parents, Brian and Judy. The name comes from the 19th century malting, where malt was produced for brewing. We still grow the spring barley needed, along with wheat, oil seed rape, potatoes and maize for forage but the centre piece of the farm are our 200 head of cattle. They arrive here when they are a few weeks old, then we rear them on milk and take them through to 24 months.
We are very keen to integrate you into our daily life so our tour with you will incorporate feeding the pigs and calves whilst horse grooming will be on tap at our 20 stable livery yard. Sheep will safely graze by the tents along with the usual Feather Down menagerie of chickens, pigs and ducks.
You won’t believe how secluded it feels here considering how accessible we are. One hour from north London and five minutes off the main trunk road to Harwich, visitors from Holland could even cycle here off the ferry!
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However, where the pitch or accommodation occupancy allows it, you can now make a booking for up to 30 adults and 30 children on one pitch.
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Large groups: check the listing page for any group restrictions set out in the terms and section titled ‘Please note’.
Large tents/caravans: check the restrictions on unit dimensions to ensure your unit is suitable for the space you will be provided with.
Leisure on site
Bar or club house
Indoor swimming pool
Outdoor swimming pool
Amenities on site
Ice pack freezing
Parent & baby washroom
Pick-up from public transport
Gas cylinders available
Commercial vehicles allowed
No dogs allowed
Lake and/or mountain
Single-sex groups welcome
Student groups welcome
Tiny (1-10 pitches)
Tipis, yurts, or wigwams
- Coach stations
Colchester: University of Essex Bus Stop — 4.3 miles
4.3 miles Colchester Bus Station — 4.5 miles
4.5 miles Alresford (Essex): Main Rd Coach Stop — 5.6 miles
- Train stations
Manningtree Rail Station — 3.1 miles
3.1 miles Hythe (Essex) Rail Station — 4.1 miles
4.1 miles Colchester Rail Station — 4.3 miles
- Ferry ports
Brightlingsea Ferry Landing — 9.3 miles
9.3 miles Point Clear Ferry Landing — 9.5 miles
9.5 miles Harwich International Ferry Terminal — 11.9 miles
London Southend Airport — 28.0 miles
The start of Dedham Vale, Flatford Mill and Constable Country is a 10 minute drive away but when you see where the tents are, you could be inspired to paint your own Haywain, such is the tranquility of the spot. Roman Colchester is not far too. Those out for the Sunshine Coast need look no further than upmarket Frinton-on-Sea, 20 minutes away, with its sandy beach and exclusive beach huts, whilst next door is Walton-on-the Naze, with its fossil collecting cliffs, nature reserve and pleasure pier.
Connect with nature as you enjoy our farm nature trail weaving its way through water meadows and woodlands. You will be based in the ‘Spring Meadows’ spread out around the Holland brook, as it winds its way down to the sea at Holland-on-Sea; the Dutch connections run deep in this part of the world. Most of the tents are south-facing to catch the best of the sunshine. Explore the local footpaths and cycle routes after which you can retire on foot to two more than respectable pubs for lunch; the Fat Goose at Tendring Green or the Bricklayers in Little Bentley itself. The village has recently sprouted its own polo club; we can let you know when matches are on.
The nature gets wilder if you are prepared to go further afield, to the Walton Backwaters nine miles away, one of England’s last true wildernesses. A vast stretch of mud and marsh washed by the tides twice a day, it seduced Arthur Ransome who set his seventh Swallows and Amazons yarn here, ‘Secret Water’. Today, seals lie out on the mudbanks and hares run through the grasses. This and all Feather Down has to offer at our farm couldn’t be further from the conventional image of Essex portrayed in the media.
- firstsite (4.5 miles)
- Colchester Castle Museum (4.5 miles)
- Colchester Zoo (7.8 miles)
- Flatford: Bridge Cottage (2.4 miles)
- Thorington Hall (3.6 miles)
Find local routes on the National Cycle Network - over 12,000 miles of cycling routes.