Balcombe, West Sussex :: Shared Description

Balcombe parish is situated largely on a forest ridge in the High Weald area of northern Sussex. It is bounded by Worth to the north, Ardingly to the east, Cuckfield to the south and Slaugham to the west. Much of the soil is sand and clay in nature and thus for many centuries was part of large forests that were located across the northern part of Sussex with just the southern parts predominantly agricultural.

The main settlement is Balcombe located on a ridge to the south of the former forests and for many centuries was a small insignificant village until the arrival of the railway in the 1840s and the construction of a station which caused the village to expand in the early 20th century as the commuters moved in. However, the station is not a major stop and thus the village has been spared the larger expansion that occurred in Crawley to the north and Haywards Heath to the south. A small hamlet called Balcombe lane is located to the north of the village along the B2036, but the rest of the parish is typically Wealden in consisting of small isolated farms and later large houses and estates; Stonehall, Balcombe Place, Brantridge Park.

The main north-south route is the B2036 which was turnpiked in the 18th century adding a new section heading south from the village to Cuckfield, then a major staging post on the London-Brighton route. Previously the road south was either the current Haywards Heath Road or the narrower meandering Rocks Lane which later rejoins the B2036 north of Brook Street. In the mnorth of the parish an east-west route runs along the forest ridge and is currently the B2110 linking Handcross to East Grinstead. This is joined by a couple of roads, Handcross Lane and Crawley Lane which link the highway with the village of Balcombe. Mill Lane runs east from the village to Ardingly where another route, Paddockhurst Lane runs north along the eastern side of the parish to join the B2110 to the west of Turners Hill. Stoney Lane heads west from Paddockhurst Lane through The Warren to Balcombe Lane. Another lane, Shell Lane originally ran from Haywards Heath lane in the south to Edmond's Farm in the east but was downgraded to bridleway status then lost to the construction of Ardingly Reservoir in 1978.

The railway arrived in 1841 with a station opened to the south west of the village and re-sited around 1849. Whilst a catalyst for the expansion of Balcombe in the early 20th century the growth has not turned Balcombe into a town like its neighbouring stations to the north and south and thus the station feels like the only real rural stop on the London-Brighton line. To the north of the station the line runs under Balcombe Tunnel whilst to the south is the impressive Ouse Valley Viaduct which spans the Upper Ouse Valley.

The river forms part of the southern boundary of the parish with many tributaries flowing from the higher northern part into the river. Shell Brook to the east rises to the north of the parish and feeds Balcombe Lake, possibly a former hammer pond, Balcombe Mill Pond, and to the south of the mill has been flooded to form the Balcombe Arm of Ardingly Reservoir. To the north west the parish boundary runs along Stanford Brook part of the River Mole watershed.

The parish has been in the news since 2013 due to the issue of fracking with many of the local residents against the licenses issued to Cuadrilla by the government to drill in Lower Stumble Wood to the south of the village. The site was tested for oil and gas deposits back in the mid 1980s and abandoned. The license to drill was passed by the local parish council in July 2013, the leader also happened to be the current owner of the Balcombe Estate where the drilling was to take place.
by Simon Carey
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414 images use this description. Preview sample shown below:

TQ3030 : Bagpiths, Haywards Heath Road, Balcombe by Simon Carey
TQ3229 : Balcombe Arm, Ardingly Reservoir by Simon Carey
TQ3229 : Nettlefield Wood by Simon Carey
TQ3231 : Ham Field/Calves Hovel Mead by Simon Carey
TQ3231 : Oaks Meadow by Simon Carey
TQ3029 : Bridge Field by Simon Carey
TQ3130 : Barn Field by Simon Carey
TQ3228 : Stonehall Lane by Simon Carey
TQ3128 : Lower Sands/Upper Sands by Simon Carey
TQ3230 : Paddockhurst Lane by Simon Carey
TQ3130 : 1-3, Haywards Heath Road, Balcombe by Simon Carey
TQ3230 : Little Coney Burrow by Simon Carey
TQ3228 : Pear Tree Field by Simon Carey
TQ3029 : Vintens Field by Simon Carey
TQ3030 : Log Cabin, London Road, Balcombe by Simon Carey
TQ3228 : Borde Hill Lane by Simon Carey
TQ3232 : The Warren by Simon Carey
TQ3232 : Little Strudgate Farm by Simon Carey
TQ3130 : Combers, Balcombe by Simon Carey
TQ3030 : Railway Bridge, Westup Road by Simon Carey
TQ3229 : The Two Platts by Simon Carey
TQ3230 : EFP Gritting, Edmond's Farm, Mill Lane by Simon Carey
TQ3228 : Field Number 411 (2) by Simon Carey
TQ3130 : Weir, Shell Brook by Simon Carey
TQ3231 : North Field/South Field/Long Field by Simon Carey

... and 389 more images.

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Created: Sat, 4 Jul 2015, Updated: Thu, 6 Oct 2016

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2015 Simon Carey, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.