Wealden is the largest district in East Sussex covering 323 sq. miles. Nearly two-thirds is recognised as being of national landscape quality, boasting the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the South Downs National Park.
Home to over 162,000 people and 8,800 businesses, half the population live in the five market towns of Crowborough, Hailsham, Heathfield, Polegate and Uckfield, the remainder living within villages and hamlets amongst some of the most attractive countryside in the South East of England.
Wealden sits just thirty miles south of London, with direct rail links, and being one the sunniest regions in the British Isles, it has seen a boom in wine growing and now boasts over 20 vineyards across the beautiful rolling Sussex countryside.
The core appeal is the incredible lifestyle and work/life balance it offers and the beautiful, varied and natural landscapes from coastal cliffs, beaches and countryside to ancient woodland, forests and heathland.
Wealden has a vibrant mix of urban and rural locations and shares its boundaries with six neighbouring local authorities stretching from just south of Tunbridge Wells (Kent) in the north to the boundary with Eastbourne in the south - a distance of some 30 miles.
Communities across Wealden contain many innovative companies, home-based rural businesses and exciting enterprises. These come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from self-employed dog groomers to companies manufacturing precision parts.
Wealden District is the second most important contributor to the East Sussex visitor economy, in terms of total business turnover and the number of jobs it supports.
A profusion of local craftsmen, artists and writers have found inspiration in Wealden - AA Milne, dramatist, novelist, journalist and children’s writer, who made Ashdown Forest famous as the place where the Winnie the Pooh stories were written; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, novelist and writer of detective fiction and science fiction, is world-famous for the Sherlock Holmes stories, and Lee Miller, the American fashion model, portraitist, surrealist and WWII war correspondent who lived with Roland Penrose, the artist at Farley Farm, where Picasso stayed.
Wealden leads the county in manufacturing, construction and viticulture.
"We found that the laidback and more flexible lifestyle was more attractive (for our business), and East Sussex was the perfect place to meet our markets in Sussex, Kent and London"Jo Hedges Natural Playscapes
"Logistically speaking, sending a pallet of soap from rural East Sussex isn’t that much different from sending it from an industrial estate in Croydon."Oliver Butts English Soap Company
Polegate is a town (8 km) north of the seaside resort of Eastbourne. Its Chaucer Industrial Business Park Estate is located on Dittons Road where the major part of Polegate's industrial businesses is located.
Crowborough is the highest inland town in East Sussex, set within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and bordering the Ashdown Forest.
Heathfield is in the heart of East Sussex almost equidistant from Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne: approximately 16 miles (26 km). Historically, Heathfield lay on an ancient trackway connecting the South Downs with the Weald.
The largest market town in Wealden. The livestock market, together with the monthly Farmers Market and Friday Stall Markets, continue to serve the town and the wider rural economy.
Uckfield is a growing town, located between East Sussex’s coastal towns and Ashdown Forest this Wealden town is gaining in popularity. Prices are much more affordable compared nearby Haywards Heath.
Visitors to Wealden are now spending over £300 million a year making the most of the beautiful, varied and unspoilt landscapes. Wine tourism is a growing market and is becoming ever more important, with Wealden emerging as a key area for viticulture due to its favourable climate, geography and soil.
There are around 18 vineyards covering a total area of approximately 365 acres in Wealden, including many award-winning producers such as Fox & Fox, Bluebell, Davenport, Rathfinny, Henners, Blackboys and Off the Line.
The research, analysis and assessment suggests that wine-related tourism is an emerging product that has the potential to contribute to strengthening the region as a tourism destination which appeals to a variety of market segments.
Space to expand
Just on the outskirts of Hailsham in Lower Dicker, Knights Farm West Employment Park is a 40-acre site along the A22 corridor offering opportunities to create hundreds of jobs.
Located on the A22 between Uckfield and Hailsham, Swallows Business Park offers a variety of units from 1250 sq ft.
A development of 22 modern self-contained Warehouse / Industrial Units offering adaptable space totaling 52,400 sq. ft near Polegate.
A development of industrial use units just outside Polegate, with excellent transport connections via road and rail.
Located on the A272 near Uckfield, Ashdown Business Park is a new development with planning permission for office and light industrial units.
England’s largest vineyard covering 600 acres nearby the picturesque Seven Sisters.
Adam & Daphne are the owners of this microbrewery, bar & restaurant, live music venue with a yoga studio & a flower shop! Quirky, unusual with an industrial feel.
Manufacturer of high-end titanium bike frames working with clients to engineer bespoke frames and finishes.
A world-class print and marketing services business, working with major brands for bespoke digital and fine art printing.
Trampoline park and multi-activity centre, an all under one roof family entertainment solution.
Servomex is the world leader in gas analysis: the expert provider of reliable, accurate and stable gas measurements to industries worldwide.
Craft gin distiller made with Sussex Hops and inspired by Sussex.
Market leaders within pump technology and the air-conditioning industry with a focus on condensate pumps.
Award-winning brewery situated on a 140-acre organic mixed farm on rural Gun Hill, with innovative gluten free beers.
The English Soap Company manufacture luxury soap, toiletries, and soy wax candles, with a strong focus on sustainability.
Generation Gin produces Sussex Dry Gin, from their distillery in North Chailey. With a focus on sustainability, they source local ingredients, with the aim to create a product that is both accessible and affordable.
Creating innovative, interactive playgrounds, Natural Playscapes has combined beautiful, imaginative design with natural materials to hundreds of playgrounds across the country.
Lightning Fibre is the new Broadband network, dedicated to delivering Full Fibre connectivity to East Sussex.
The Ordinary Climbers is a new indoor climbing wall gym whose aim is to help you to scale new heights whatever your age and whether you are a complete beginner or experienced climber.
Willow Tree Interiors create unique, handmade English kitchens for homes across the UK.
Case study spotlight
From starting in a kitchen in 2000, to now employing nearly 50 people in the heart of the Wealden countryside, the award-winning English Soap Company has grown to become one of the UK’s premier soap manufacturers.The English Soap Company