Our Secret Britain series continues with a look at a crumbling folly in Sussex.
Some see an atmospheric ruin, others an eyesore. Also known as Stansted Castle, Racton Folly was constructed by the 2nd Earl of Halifax in 1766–75 to complement his Stansted estate and provide a view of his merchant ships returning to the Solent.
Planning permission for residential conversion was refused in 2020 and the folly is in a sorry state — gutted and on oft-trespassed private land, it has seen illegal raves, ghost hunts, occultists and graffiti, and was, reputedly, a 19th-century brothel.
Spectral sightings include flying bricks, faces in windows and a ghost tractor that drives up behind you, then disappears. The Racton Monument Circular walk takes you right past it, affording views over the South Downs, Stansted House and Chichester Harbour.
See more of Secret Britain
Annie Elwes kicks off our series on Britain's secret places with a look at Gwennap Pit.
Annie Elwes focuses on Wistman's Wood, a place that could make even the brave quiver at the knees.
Annie Elwes investigates the ruins of Carn Euny.
Annie Elwes recommends the waterfall and surrounding wild countryside of the Grey Mare's Tail Nature Reserve.
The lure of a secret garden is as strong now as it was when Frances Hodgson Burnett first published The