A Norfolk balloon flight over Stanford battle area is a fascinating insight to what natural Breckland would have looked like beyond a century ago. Pre planning for this is quite involved as the airspace is controlled by RAF Lakenheath. A phone call confirmed that the air traffic controllers were happy for the launch to take place at 7.00 p.m. Also the area of D208 (Stanford battle area would not be live firing!!) Very, very important to get that confirmation. It was a lovely early summer evening and we were airborne from Thetford rugby club. We headed north climbing out to 2,500 feet. Crossing the battle area north of Croxton.
D208 covers some 26,000 acres and has been under the stewardship of the army since 1943. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty of which the Army have managed the conservation of wildlife and fauna extremely well, contrary to some people’s beliefs. Rare birds such as the stone curlew have found the area much to their liking with large areas of rolling heathland, which is the birds natural habit. In fact the forest is a relatively new addition to the area when planting started in the late 1800’s. To the east the church of Tottington and farm cottages remain well cared for and intact. Out to the west the church of Sturston and the site of the old Benedictine monastery were all in view.
The balloon flew over the cressingham Arms onto Ashill, Bradennham finally landing in a field next to the A47 at Great Fransham. A thank you to Mr Robert Salmon for allowing us to retrieve our balloon from his field.
One of our passengers kindly emailed us the next day:
Just a short note to say thank you so much for the most enjoyable balloon ride experience you provided yesterday. From the time we arrived to the time we left, you were so professional and gave me the most wonderful experience. I shall never forget the stunning views over the battle area and your running commentary.
It was well worth the reasonable rate that you charge, and I will most definitely recommend you to anybody that asks. Look forward to receiving the on board photos. I have published a few photos on my facebook site for all to see.
Once again, a BIG THANK YOU,