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East Sussex ( ) is a county in South East Englandmarker. It is bordered by the counties of Kentmarker, Surreymarker, Brighton and Hovemarker and West Sussexmarker, and to the south by the English Channelmarker.


See main article:History of Sussex

East Sussex is part of the ancient kingdom of the South Saxons, who established themselves there in the fifth century AD, after the departure of the Romans, although the area had been populated for many thousands of years before then. Archaeological remains are plentiful, especially in the upland areas. The area's position on the coast has also meant that there were many invaders, including the Romans and later the Normans. Earlier industries have included fishing, iron-making, and the wool trade, all of which have declined, or lost completely.


The ancient kingdom of Sussex has had two separate county administrations since the 12th century, with the county town of the eastern division being Lewesmarker. This situation was formalised by Parliament in 1865, and the two parts were given distinct elected county councils in 1889 under the Local Government Act 1888. In East Sussex there were also three self-administered county boroughs: Brightonmarker, Eastbournemarker and Hastingsmarker.

In 1974 East Sussex was made a ceremonial county, and the three county boroughs became districts within the county. At the same time the western boundary was altered, so that the Mid Sussex region (including Burgess Hillmarker and Haywards Heathmarker) was transferred to the county of West Sussexmarker. In 1997, Brighton and Hovemarker became a self-administered unitary authority; it was granted city status in 2000, whilst remaining part of the ceremonial county of East Sussex.

East Sussex is divided into five local government districts. Three are larger, rural, districts (from west to east) are: Lewesmarker; Wealdenmarker; and Rother. Eastbournemarker and Hastingsmarker are mainly urban areas. The rural districts are further subdivided into civil parishes.



See map reproduced in Wealdmarker

From a geological point of view East Sussex is part of southern anticline of the Wealdmarker: the South Downsmarker, a range of moderate chalk hills which run across the southern part of the county from west to east and mirrored in Kentmarker by the North Downsmarker. To the north lie parallel valleys and ridges, the highest of which is the Weald itself (the Hastings beds and Wealden Clay). The sandstones and clays meet the sea at Hastings; the Downs, at Beachy Headmarker.

Relief and drainage

The relief of the county reflects the geology.

The chalk uplands of the South Downsmarker occupies the coastal strip between Brighton and Eastbourne. There are two river gaps: the Rivers Ousemarker and Cuckmeremarker. The Seven Sistersmarker, where the Downs meet the sea, are the remnants of dry valleys cut into the chalk; they end at Beachy Headmarker, 530 feet (162 m) above sea level. To the east of Beachy Head lie the marshlands of the Pevenseymarker Levels, formerly flooded by the sea but now enclosed within a deposited beach. At Bexhillmarker the land begins to rise again where the sands and clays of the Weald meet the sea; these culminate in the sandstone cliffs east of Hastings. Further east are the Pettmarker Levels, more marshland, beyond which is the estuary of the River Rothermarker. On the far side of the estuary are the dunes of Camber Sandsmarker. The highest point of the Downs within the county is Ditchling Beaconmarker, at 814 feet (248 m): it is termed a Marilyn.

The Wealdmarker occupies the northern borderlands of the county. Between the Downs and Weald is a narrow stretch of lower lying land; many of the rivers and streams occupying this area originate in the Weald. The High Weald is heavily wooded in contrast to the South Downs; the Low Weald less so. Part of the Weald is the Ashdown Forestmarker.


The location of settlements in East Sussex has been determined both by its history and its geography. The original towns and villages tended to be where its economy lay: fishing along the coast and agriculture and iron mining on the Weald. Industry today tends to be geared towards tourism, and particularly along the coastal strip. Here towns such as Bexhill-on-Seamarker, Eastbournemarker, and Hastingsmarker lie. Newhavenmarker and Ryemarker are ports, although the latter is also of historical importance. Peacehavenmarker and Seafordmarker are more dormitory towns than anything else. Away from the coast lie former market towns such as Hailshammarker, Heathfieldmarker and Uckfieldmarker; Crowboroughmarker is a centre for the Ashdown Forest. Lewesmarker, the County town of East Sussex; and Battlemarker, with its Norman Conquest beginnings. are the other two towns of significance.


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of the non-metropolitan county of East Sussex (Brighton & Hovemarker has a separate table) at current basic prices published (pp. 240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
Year Regional Gross Value Added Agriculture Industry Services
1995 4,359 84 1,053 3,222
2000 4,953 54 1,155 3,744
2003 5,326 69 1,252 4,004


The Long Man of Wilmington on the South Downs

Beachy Headmarker is one of the most famed local attractions, along with the flats along Normans Bay. The county is well known for being one of the most green in the country.

Apart from the physical landmarks such as the Downs and the Weald, East Sussex has a great many landmarks of historical interest. There are castles at Bodiammarker, Herstmonceuxmarker, Lewesmarker and Pevenseymarker; and defence works such as the Martello towers and Eastbourne Redoubtmarker. Battle Abbeymarker, built to commemorate the Battle of Hastingsmarker; Bateman'smarker, home of Rudyard Kipling, and the University of Sussexmarker buildings at Falmermarker are among interesting buildings.

It also has a number of great parks suitable for tourists. The Seven Sistersmarker Park is to become a National Park in the near future.



The A23, one of the major North-South routes.

Unusually East Sussex has no motorways. The main roads through the county are those part of the radial pattern from London: the A21marker to Hastings; the A22marker to Eastbourne; and the A23marker to Brighton. Cross-country routes include the A26 which carries traffic from Newhaven and Lewes north into Kent; and the south coast trunk route, which starts in Folkestonemarker (Kent) as the A259 trunk road, and traverses the south coast to Eastbournemarker, where it becomes the A27 trunk road and heads westwards towards Chichestermarker in West Sussex and ultimately to Honitonmarker in Devon. All the main roads suffer from congestion and traffic problems: the A27 which connects Eastbournemarker to Portsmouthmarker is one of the busiest trunk roads in the UK.

Bus routes serve all the main areas of settlement and many of the villages in the county.


The railways serve the main towns in a similar fashion to the roads. Until the closures of many branch railways in the 20th century, rural East Sussex was well-served by rail: few such branch lines escaped the Beeching Axe so that today only main-line services remain. They include the East Coastway Line (including the Marshlink Line); the London-Hastings line; and the Uckfield branch, the terminus of the Oxted Line. There are three heritage railways: the Kent and East Sussex Railway operates from Tenterdenmarker in Kent to Bodiammarker; the Bluebell Railwaymarker from Sheffield Park to Kingscote with a planned extension to East Grinsteadmarker; and the Lavender Line Steam Railwaymarker near Lewes.


see also Recreational walks in East Sussex

Among the long-distance footpaths in East Sussex are the South Downs Way; 1066 Country Walk, High Weald Landscape Trail, Saxon Shore Way, Sussex Border Path, Sussex Ouse Valley Waymarker, Vanguard Way and the Wealdwaymarker.


There are 150 primary schools in East Sussex, many of them small and serving small communities.East Sussex has a comprehensive education system with 27 state secondary schools (not including sixth form colleges) and 12 independent secondary schools. Each of the larger towns also has a further education college. There are also a number of independent boarding schools in the county. The Pestalozzi Children's Village, an international foundation, is located at Sedlescombemarker.

See also


  1. [1]
  2. See List of civil parishes in East Sussex
  3. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  4. includes hunting and forestry
  5. includes energy and construction
  6. includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  7. Eastbourne Redoubt Fortress Military Museum Eastbourne Redoubt is the home of the Royal Sussex Regimental Museum

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