Haywards Heath, is the administrative centre of Mid Sussex. It has a population of approximately 23,000. Many of its residents commute each day to London, Brighton, Crawley, and Gatwick but, many people also work in the town which is a thriving commercial centre in its own right. The offices of Mid Sussex District Council are situated off Oaklands Road and offer an information Help Point service to residents and visitors. The library also has some information for tourists and visitors.
In 1841 the first railway link between London and Haywards Heath was opened, giving rise to a new period of growth and prosperity, centred on the railway which brought new residents and business to the town. Further impetus was given to development with the electrification of the railway in 1933. In the 1960s and 70s two modern light industrial estates were built near the station and there was a large increase in house building. Also at this time the commercial element of the Town began to gain momentum with many new office developments. The Orchards Shopping Centre, situated off the main shopping thoroughfare in South Road, was constructed in the late 70s.
The town today
In The Orchards pedestrian precinct are the main Post Office and many shops, including branches of multi-nationals. Together with The Broadway, Sussex Road, and Commercial Square there is a wide range of shops catering for all needs. Sainsbury's is on the site of the former cattle market, which had operated in Haywards Heath since 1866.
Muster Green is a conservation area. With its traditional, ornamental flower beds this delightful green, bordered by Victorian and Edwardian houses with the War Memorial at the apex, forms a splendid entrance to the Town. The Town has 48 listed buildings and one of the oldest, The Dolphin Public House built in the 16th century, overlooks the Green. Opposite the Dolphin Public House are the Magistrates Court for Mid Sussex and the Weald Division Police Headquarters.
St. Paul's RC Church and St Wilfrid's Parish Church are the two most prominent buildings. St Wilfrid's with its fine old Sussex design of tower, caps the ridge in the centre of the town and forms a focal point when approaching the town centre from Muster Green.
There are two new General Hospitals in Haywards Heath. The Princess Royal is in the grounds of the former St Francis Psychiatric Hospital, a listed building. The Ashdown Nuffield is a private hospital.
The town is well equipped with leisure facilities. The Olympos Haywards Heath, Leisure Centre has three pools and facilities for indoor sports and there are many outdoor sports pitches and courts. Victoria Park, in the town centre, includes a children's play area and paddling pool, and an Xtreme Action area for BMXing, blading and boarding.
The Town Council offices are at the Town Hall, Boltro Road, where there are meeting rooms available for hire. The Town Council supports many associations, including the Haywards Heath Business Association and the Town Twinning Association.
The Town is twinned with Traunstein in Bavaria and with Bondues in northern France (7 miles from Lille).
Further details and an official guide and street plan of Haywards Heath are available from the Town Council offices, open 9am-4.30pm each weekday, telephone: 01444 455694.
Fox Hill is a village within the town. With its adjacent Townscape Protection Area, it runs towards Wivelsfield down the sandstone ridge south of the town, past the ancient Anscombe Wood. From here you can see tempting glimpses of open countryside and of the Downs above Ditchling and Plumpton.
For further information on Haywards Heath, visit their website: www.haywardsheath.gov.uk
Want to stay in the area? A link to Visit Sussex is provided here. Once on the site select accommodation and refine your search to the local area around Haywards Heath.