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Haywards Heath

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9.75 km (3.76 sq mi)

Civil parish
Haywards Heath

South East

Dialling code

OS grid reference

Mid Sussex

Shire county
West Sussex

Haywards Heath httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

22,800  2001 Census 27,057 (2011 Census)

14°C, Wind W at 24 km/h, 80% Humidity

Points of interest
Sheffield Park Garden, Scrase Valley Nature R, The Great Spreading Oak

Haywards heath drone flight

Haywards Heath is a town in the Mid Sussex District of West Sussex, within the historic county of Sussex, England. It lies 36 miles (58 km) south of London, 14 miles (23 km) north of Brighton, 13 miles (21 km) south of Gatwick Airport and 31 miles (50 km) east northeast of the county town of Chichester. Nearby towns include Burgess Hill to the southwest, Horsham to the northwest, Crawley north-northwest and East Grinstead north-northeast. Being a commuter town with only a relatively small number of jobs available in the immediate vicinity, mostly in the agricultural or service sector, many of the residents commute daily via road or rail to London, Brighton, Crawley or Gatwick for work.


Map of Haywards Heath, UK


The name Hayward comes from Old English meaning an official who protected hedged enclosures from wandering livestock. There is a local legend that the name comes from a highwayman who went under the name of Jack Hayward.


Haywards Heath gets a mention in English Civil War records. Early in December 1642 the High Sheriff of Sussex (Sir Edward Ford) advanced with Royalist troops towards Lewes in East Sussex from Chichester in West Sussex. He was intercepted in Haywards Heath by local Parliamentarians and defeated. Haywards Heath as a settlement is a relatively modern development. Following the arrival of the London & Brighton Railway in 1841, its size has increased considerably. Haywards Heath railway station opened on 12 July 1841 and served as the southern terminus of the line until the completion of Brighton station on 21 September. The position of Haywards Heath, and its place on both this railway and near the main road (A23) between London and Brighton, enables it to function as a commuter town, with many residents working in London, Brighton, Crawley and Gatwick Airport.

Other noted historical events in the town's history include:

  • The opening of the Sussex County Lunatic Asylum (later called St Francis Hospital) in 1859. The superintendent here was, for many years, Dr Lockhart Robertson, later Lord Chancellor's Visitor, and brother of the eminent ophthalmologist, Dr Argyll Robertson.
  • The opening of Bannister's Cattle Market, the 12th largest in UK at one point, in 1859. This was closed to make way for a Sainsbury's supermarket in 1989.
  • The opening of Victorian and Edwardian villas built as early commuter settlements in 1894
  • The opening of the Eliot Cottage Hospital, later King Edward VII Eliot Memorial Hospital, in 1906, named after benefactor, Alice Annie Eliot (1864–1904)
  • Schemes in the 1920s to help families on low incomes to become self-sufficient, resulting in the building of Franklands Village in the 1930s.
  • In the 1960s and 1970s, two light industrial estates were built. Office development has lately resulted in the town being a regional or national centre for a number of national companies and government agencies.

    The population has risen from 200 in the early 1850s to 22,800 (2001 census), making it one of the larger towns in West Sussex. The area of the civil parish is 974.99 hectares (2,409.3 acres).

    The parish church, dedicated to St Wilfrid, and the Roman Catholic church of St Paul are among the churches and chapels in Haywards Heath. Other places of worship include the Methodist church in Perrymount Road and two Baptist churches, St Richards (C of E), the Church of the Presentation (C of E) and the Ascension Church (C of E).

    The Priory of Our Lady of Good Counsel on Franklynn Road was built in 1886 and is Grade II listed. In 1978 it was converted to a restaurant and offices.

    Haywards Heath was in East Sussex, but a change to the county boundary in 1974 brought it under the jurisdiction of West Sussex.

    Bolnore Village

    Housing in Haywards Heath has been expanded significantly in the last ten years due to the creation of Bolnore Village, located to the south west of the existing town. Planning permission was first granted in the late 1990s for 780 new homes on a greenfield site. The first house was completed in October 2002. Since then, phases 1, 2 and 3 have been built by the house builders Crest Nicholson in conjunction with several other developers. Housing was followed by the construction of various commercial units—currently occupied by the Co-operative Supermarket and the country's first self-governing parent-promoted primary school in September 2010. A pavilion and recreation ground will follow in 2013. Construction of the final phases of Bolnore village (phases 4 and 5) commenced in 2011 (located closer to Haywards Heath centre) with the first houses occupied in September 2012.

    The decision to grant planning permission for Bolnore Village was somewhat controversial, since the Ashenground and Catts Woods on that site formed a Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI).

    As a condition for planning permission, the developers are required to build a relief road for the town, often referred to as Haywards Heath by-pass, which has re-routed the A272 to the south side of the town. Construction work on the relief road commenced in 2012, with it being completed in August 2014, the previous A272 route through Haywards Heath has been renamed to the B2272.

    In 2008, local residents won a bid to set up and run their own primary school for the village. The new school opened in September 2008.


    The Mid Sussex District Council is planning to further modernise the town centre, and has published a Haywards Heath Masterplan which includes renovation plans for the railway station ticket office and new shared parking facilities. The next steps for the redevelopment are currently unclear since the council's chosen developer, Thornfield Properties, went into administration in early 2010. However, the council remains committed to achieving the redevelopment through alternative developers.

    A further 685 homes are due to be built in the final phases of Bolnore Village (phases 4 and 5), and new homes are also expected to be built in the town centre as part of the Haywards Heath Master Plan.


    Haywards Heath railway station is a major station on the Brighton Main Line. Some of the train services divide at Haywards Heath before continuing their journey to the south, or join other services before continuing north.


    Haywards Heath is primarily served by the A272 road, which runs around the south side of the town. This is the new Haywards Heath by-pass, which was opened (ahead of schedule) in August 2014. It diverts town centre traffic south of the town, just south of Bolnore Village, Ashenground and the Princess Royal Hospital. The old A272 through the town centre is now the B2272. Following the A272 to the west, it joins the A23 road which runs both to Brighton to the south and London to the north.

    Local attractions, culture and facilities

  • Bars and restaurants in Broadway
  • Victoria Park
  • Clair Hall – community centre/event centre
  • Haywards Heath Leisure Centre
  • Borde Hill Gardens
  • Beech Hurst Gardens
  • Haywards Heath Recreation Ground
  • Haywards Heath Library
  • Haywards Heath Cadet Centre
  • Princess Royal Hospital
  • Paul Badham Gallery & Norman Wisdom Exhibition The Orchards Shopping Centre
  • "Town Day" – celebrated in early September each year including fireworks in the evening at Victoria Park.
  • State schools

    Oathall Community College is a secondary school for the town and surrounding area. Facilities include a school farm. There are also several primary schools.

    Private schools

  • Tavistock and Summerhill School (1973–2015)
  • Great Walstead School
  • Twin towns

    Haywards Heath is twinned with:

    Bondues, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France

    Traunstein, Bavaria, Germany

    A major road in the Bolnore Village area of the town has been named Traunstein Way and there is a German postbox outside the Town Hall to commemorate the link.

    Sport and leisure

    Haywards Heath has two Non-League football clubs St Francis Rangers F.C. who play at The Colwell Ground and Haywards Heath Town F.C. who play at Hanbury Park.

    The area has two hockey clubs nearby: St Francis Hockey Club and Mid Sussex Hockey Club. They both play their home games at The Triangle leisure centre in Burgess Hill, and have a shared clubhouse based in Haywards Heath.

    Famous residents

    Noted celebrities with connections to the Haywards Heath area include:

  • Richard Osman. Pointless TV Presenter, Warden Park School left 1987
  • Sam Cowan. Manchester City and England footballer, died in Haywards Heath 1964
  • Mathew Bose (actor), best known for playing Paul Lambert in ITV 1's Emmerdale, grew up in Haywards Heath and attended Haywards Heath Sixth Form College.
  • Professor Philip Payton, historian and writer, attended Haywards Heath Grammar School.
  • Professor Sir Jack E. Baldwin. Organic Chemist.
  • Brett Anderson. Suede Singer/Songwriter, lived in Newton Court Lindfield, and attended Oathall School and Haywards Heath Sixth Form College.
  • Mat Osman. Suede Bassist, attended Oathall School and Haywards Heath Sixth Form College.
  • Lawrence Osborne. Novelist and writer
  • Robert Kazinsky. Actor, best known as Sean Slater in EastEnders.
  • Matthew Waterhouse. Actor, best known as Adric in Doctor Who.
  • Eddie Shah. Founder of Today newspaper, went to nearby Oathall School
  • Frank Reginald Carey. War hero.
  • David James. Author, Politician and Adventurer lived in nearby Wivelsfield Green whilst Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown.
  • Greta Scacchi. Actress, attended Haywards Heath Grammar School for a while.
  • Leslie Ash and her husband Lee Chapman.
  • Robert Slade Lucas. Cricketer who played for Middlesex, died in Franklands Village, Haywards Heath.
  • Anna Sewell. Writer of Black Beauty, lived in New England Road.
  • Daley Thompson. Olympic decathlete, was a member of Haywards Heath Harriers Athletics Club.
  • Tommy Cook. Sussex County Cricket Club cricketer and England footballer, born in Cuckfield played for Brighton & Hove Albion F. C.
  • Samantha Marie Sprackling, more commonly known as Saffron. Lead singer of the electronica band Republica, attended Oathall School.
  • Graham Moseley. Footballer. Goalkeeper for Brighton & Hove Albion F. C.. Lived in Northlands Avenue.
  • Natasha Bedingfield. Singer-songwriter. Nominated for 4 BRIT awards and won 5 separate awards in other areas, has collaborated with famous artists such as Nicki Minaj.
  • Kaya Scodelario. Actress.
  • Mark Ravenhill. Playwright, originally lived in Courtlands.
  • Tim Godwin, former Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, attended Haywards Heath Grammar School 1970 - 75
  • In fiction, Haywards Heath is the home of the Jennings family.


    Haywards Heath Wikipedia

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