Together with its near neighbour Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath is the economic powerhouse of Mid Sussex, growing at a steady rate and providing jobs for many people all over West Sussex - although good road and railway connections mean that many of Haywards Heath's 25, residents commute to Gatwick and London too. Inevitably a lot of Haywards Heath is modern, and relatively uninteresting - at least compared to some of the many other historic towns and villages in Sussex.
Pevsner described Haywards Heath as "large and quite amorphous" and it hasn't got any smaller since he wrote. And there probably isn't any more variety to the town either as thousands of new homes have been built since then too.
Haywards Heath history in 30 seconds Until Victorian times, Haywards Heath was a small village which was outranked by its neighbours Cuckfield and Lindfield. Haywards Heath's development almost came about by accident. An survey proposed a route for the proposed London to Brighton railway line passing through Cuckfield, but local landowners including the influential Sergison family kicked up a fuss and the plans were redrawn.
When the railway was opened in it passed through Hayward's Heath. Cuckfield's "loss" was Haywards Heath's "gain", depending on how you look at it.
The railway brought prosperity to the town and the rest, as they say, is history. But there is some fine uplifting countryside outside Haywards Heath in the Ouse Valley.
And there are some interesting attractions nearby and plenty to do in the area. There was a small civil war battle at Muster Green by the way in in which the parliamentarians routed a small Royalist force led by Sir Edward Ford of Uppark in West Sussex.
The ancient Dolphin Pub just off Muster Green is one of the oldest buildings in the town, dating from the 16th century. The pub had been named for years after the Sergison family who owned huge tracts of farmland in around Haywards Heath before the modern town was built; but the pub recently reverted to its even more traditional original pub name. Great Haywards and Little Hayward are two other old and distinguished late medieval buildings in the town. The former St Francis Hospital which was opened in as the county lunatic asylum by the Victorians is still an impressive collection of buildings, even though it is now being turned into a housing development called Southdown Park.
Haywards Heath Attractions Haywards Heath is surrounded by very attractive countryside and is a good base for a walking holiday. Ashdown Forest and the High Weald are nearby and there is good walking around the nearby villages of Cuckfield, Lindfield, Staplefield and Slaugham.
Haywards Heath's Clair Hall has a good repertoire of plays, music and other events throughout the year. Ardingly Reservoir is popular with walkers, anglers and dinghy sailors. Comedy , modern music , classical music , sculpture and art and the theatre. Things to do in Haywards Heath See our listings of things to do in Haywards Heath , which include clubs and societies to join in the town and information on hobbies and other pastimes. Haywards Heath sports clubs Details of all the sports clubs in Haywards Heath.