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Heathfield

The Parish of Heathfield and Waldron is in East Sussex, some 16 miles from the coastal town of Eastbourne and 17 miles from the historic spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent.

The Parish covers an area of approximately 125 square miles, and includes the town of Heathfield, the village of Waldron, Cross-in-Hand, Broad Oak, Old Heathfield and part of Punnetts Town.

Heathfield is a small market town with a big view: standing on a ridge, it is surrounded by beautiful, rolling Sussex countryside and has magnificent vistas to the south from the High Street.

BeaconThe twin parishes of Heathfield and Waldron have a total population of 11,000 people, scattered amongst several centres. The present village of Old Heathfield was the original location of the settlement. At nearby Cade Street is the Heathfield Beacon and the memorial to Jack Cade, who, in 1450, led an insurrection of the common people and was reputedly killed near where the memorial is sited by Sheriff Alexander Iden of Kent.

Heathfield gained its market charter in February 1316 during the reign of Edward II. Later industrial development of the area took place with the growth of the iron industry in the 16th and 17th centuries and many cannon balls fired in war came from Heathfield. Newer development of the town only took place when the railway came in the 19th century.

Today no trains run to Heathfield, but the former railway line has not been allowed to become derelict. Instead, it has been turned into a traffic-free cycleway, bridleway and walkway, part of the National Cycle Network. Running south from Heathfield, the Cuckoo Trail, as it is called, cuts through some of the prettiest countryside in Wealden and ends at Polegate. Long term, there are plans for a southern extension to reach the coast, so that, from the ferry terminal at Dieppe, it can be linked with the planned "avenue verte" through the French countryside to the Normandy village of Forges-les-Eaux, with which Heathfield is twinned.Church

Heathfield today is an ideal touring base and a busy, bustling market town with a good range of general and specialist shops, schools and other services. It still retains its links with the farming industry, which has shaped the surrounding countryside over the centuries, for the Heathfield Show, held at the late May Bank Holiday, draws thousands to the town. More recent events which have also become established as regular dates in the Heathfield calendar are the annual Tour de Heathfield cycle event (June/July), Le Marché (the Anglo-French street market held on August Bank Holiday Monday) and the Cuckoo Fair, which takes place in April.