Explore the Brightling follies - walk

PUBLISHED: 13:03 22 October 2013 | UPDATED: 13:03 22 October 2013

Brightling Follies

Brightling Follies

Hazel Sillver

On this month’s walk, Hazel Sillver explores the follies and woodland around Brightling

Brightling Follies 5.5m (8.8km)

Location: Brightling, near Battle, East Sussex Distance: 5.5 miles (8.8km) 2–3 hrs walk

Terrain: Stony, muddy and grassy tracks, with a little up and down

Where to park: At The Swan pub (TN21 9LB) in Wood’s Corner, if you’re going to eat there afterwards; otherwise park in one of the lay-bys



Squire John Fuller (aka ‘Mad Jack Fuller’) lived at Brightling Park, next to the church, in the 19th century. He was outspoken, eccentric and rich. When he heard how dire the church choir was, he bought them nine bassoons as a gift! Fuller never left his estate without a barouche pulled by four horses, which perhaps contributed to his shape – one of his nicknames was ‘Hippopotamus’ and it’s said he weighed 22 stone. He never married and channeled all his energy into doing good deeds: as well as working hard as MP for East Sussex, he donated money to science and the arts. Turner was a friend and painted The Observatory, one of Mad Jack’s follies. There are six follies in total, all commissioned by Fuller:

The Temple Fuller often entertained at this circular Grecian temple in Brightling Park, which contains an underground storage room for wine.

The Observatory Now a private residence, this once contained stargazing equipment and a camera obscura.

The Obelisk A 65ft high needle-shaped landmark that can’t be seen on the walk.

The Pyramid (left) Fuller persuaded the vicar to give him such a huge area for his pyramidal mausoleum by paying for a new wall, gate and pillars for the church and by moving the pub (originally opposite the church and thus very tempting after Sunday service) ½ mile down the road.

The Tower (right) Allegedly built to echo and view Bodiam Castle (which can be seen from the top), which Fuller saved from demolition in 1828.

Latest from the Sussex Life