Introducing Wealden

Covering 323 square miles, Wealden is the largest district in East Sussex, and is home to some 154,600 people with a gender split of 74,500 males and 80,100 females (Population data source: ONS Subnational population projections for England: 2014-based projections).

Half the population live in five main towns: Crowborough, Hailsham, Heathfield, Polegate and Uckfield. The rest live in villages and hamlets in some of the most attractive countryside in the South of England.

With two-thirds of the district covered by the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the South Downs National Park, as well as 34 conservation areas and over 2,500 listed buildings, Wealden has to place a high value on protecting the countryside. This is reflected in the Council’s Planning Policiesand Sustainability Strategy.

Wealden had 8,070 businesses in 2015. Small and micro businesses form a fundamental part of the Wealden economy with 91% of businesses in Wealden employing less than 9 people (Business data source: ESiF Business enterprises by size of business, 2004-2015).

The Public Administration, Education and Health sector is the largest (2014) employing 23.9% of the workforce, followed by the Wholesale and Retail trade sector which employs 17.7% of the workforce (Employment data source: ESiF Employment by industry SIC (2007), 2009-2014).


323 square miles (837 square kilometres)

Wealden is classified as one of the most rural districts in England. Wealden places a high value on protecting the countryside, with two-thirds of the district covered by the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the South Downs National Park, as well as 34 conservation areas, over 2,500 listed buildings and the largest amount of ancient woodland of any district in the country.

The Council is a member of SPARSE Rural and the Rural Services Network. They have comprehensively profiled facts and figures about Wealden (external link) and other rural district and county areas. East Sussex County Council’s data observatory service East Sussex in Figures (external link) can be searched for a very wide range of facts, figures and maps at county, district, ward and parish levels.

Wealden District Council Location and Boundary

Wealden District Location Map (pdf)

Wealden Facts and Figures

Our Facts and Figures webpage provides more information about the people and places in Wealden District. The Policy Team have produced profiles for the Wealden District and all 35 Wealden District wards.

Population (2011 Census data)

  • Wealden Population in 2011: 148,900
  • Population projection for 2033: 165,400
  • Population density (2011): 1.78 people per hectare (South East average 4.5 people per hectare)


The following points are taken from Public Health England Wealden Health Profile 2015 (pdf)

  • The health of people in Wealden is generally better than the England average.
  • Life expectancy for both men and women is higher than the England average.
  • Over the last 10 years, all cause mortality rates have fallen. The early death rate from heart disease and stroke has fallen and is better than the England average.
  • About 14.2% of Year 6 children are classified as obese, better than the average for England.
  • Levels of teenage pregnancy are better than the England average whilst GCSE attainment is not significantly different to the England average.
  • The percentage of physically active adults is better than the England average.
  • The rate of road injuries and deaths is worse than the England average.
  • Rates of sexually transmitted infections, smoking related deaths and hospital stays for alcohol related harm are better than the England average.

Visit the Parish Councils webpage for a list of the rural parishes and links to Parish Council contacts and the Wealden’s neighbouring areas webpage to link through to other local authorities’ webpages.