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East Sussex
Flag of East Sussex.svg
Arms of the East Sussex County Council.svg
Coat of arms
East Sussex within England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region South East England
Established 1974
(Local Government Act 1972)
Time zone UTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)
Members of Parliament
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant Peter Field (2008–)
High Sheriff Andrew Blackman (2020–21)
Area 1,792 km2 (692 sq mi)
 • Ranked 33rd of 48
Population (2005 est.) 752,900
 • Ranked 28th of 48
Density 419/km2 (1,090/sq mi)
Ethnicity 97.7% White
1.0% S. Asian
Non-metropolitan county
County council East Sussex County Council
Executive Conservative
Admin HQ Lewes
Area 1,709 km2 (660 sq mi)
 • Ranked of 26
Population 497,900
 • Ranked 28th of 26
Density 291/km2 (750/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 GB-ESX
ONS code 21
East Sussex numbered districts.svg
Unitary County council area
Districts of East Sussex
  1. City of Brighton and Hove
  2. Lewes
  3. Wealden
  4. Eastbourne
  5. Rother
  6. Hastings

East Sussex is a county in South East England on the English Channel coast. It is bordered by the counties of Kent to the north and east, West Sussex to the west, and Surrey for a short distance to the north-west.


East Sussex is part of the historic county of Sussex, which has its roots in the ancient kingdom of the South Saxons, who established themselves there in the 5th century AD, after the departure of the Romans. 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 been lost completely.



Beachy Head and Lighthouse, UK
Beachy Head and lighthouse, Eastbourne, East Sussex

From a geological point of view East Sussex is part of southern anticline of the Weald: the South Downs, a range of moderate chalk hills which run across the southern part of the county from west to east and mirrored in Kent by the North Downs. 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 Head.


East Sussex, like most counties by the south coast, has an annual average total of around 1,750 hours of sunshine per year. This is much higher than the UK's average of about 1,340 hours of sunshine a year.

Relief and drainage

The relief of the county reflects the geology.

The chalk uplands of the South Downs occupies the coastal strip between Brighton and Eastbourne. There are two river gaps: the Rivers Ouse and Cuckmere. The Seven Sisters, where the Downs meet the sea, are the remnants of dry valleys cut into the chalk; they end at Beachy Head, 530 feet (162 m) above sea level. To the east of Beachy Head lie the marshlands of the Pevensey Levels, formerly flooded by the sea but now enclosed within a deposited beach. At Bexhill 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 Pett Levels, more marshland, beyond which is the estuary of the River Rother. On the far side of the estuary are the dunes of Camber Sands. The highest point of the Downs within the county is Ditchling Beacon, at 814 feet (248 m): it is termed a Marilyn.

The Weald 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 Forest.


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-Sea, Eastbourne, and Hastings lie. Newhaven and Rye are ports, although the latter is also of historical importance. Peacehaven and Seaford are more dormitory towns than anything else. Away from the coast lie former market towns such as Hailsham, Heathfield and Uckfield; Crowborough is a centre for the Ashdown Forest. Lewes, the County town of East Sussex; and Battle, with its Norman Conquest beginnings. are the other two towns of significance.

Economy and demography

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of the non-metropolitan county of East Sussex (Brighton & Hove has a separate table) at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of pounds.

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
Claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance or Income Support (DWP)
Area August 2012 August 2001 Population
(April 2011)
East Sussex 18,790 34,335 526,671
% of 2011 resident population
(2001 population where applicable)
3.6% 7.0%
Hastings 6.7% 12.1% 90,254
Eastbourne 4.3% 8.2% 99,412
Rother 3.1% 6.5% 90,588
Lewes 3.0% 5.7% 97,502
Wealden 1.8% 4.2% 148,915


Mermaid Street in Rye showing typically steep slope and cobbled surface

The Seven Sisters Park is part of the South Downs National Park. Beachy Head is one of the most famed local attractions, along with the flats along Normans Bay.

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 Bodiam, Herstmonceux, Lewes and Pevensey; and defence works such as the Martello towers and Eastbourne Redoubt. Battle Abbey, built to commemorate the Battle of Hastings; Bateman's, home of Rudyard Kipling, Hammerwood Park, one of the first examples of Greek Revival architecture in the UK; and the University of Sussex buildings at Falmer are among interesting buildings.



Rpp 010
The A23, one of the major North-South routes.

East Sussex has no motorways, and even dual carriageways are sparse in the county. The main roads through the county are those part of the radial pattern from London: the A21 from Kent to Hastings; the A22 from Surrey to Eastbourne; and the A23 from Gatwick 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 Folkestone (Kent) as the A259 trunk road, and traverses the south coast to Eastbourne, where it becomes the A27 trunk road and heads westwards towards Chichester in West Sussex and ultimately to Honiton in Devon. All the main roads suffer from congestion and traffic problems: the A27 which connects Eastbourne to Portsmouth 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 cuts so that today only main-line services remain. They include the East Coastway Line (including the Marshlink Line); the Hastings line; and the Uckfield branch of the Oxted Line. There are three heritage railways: the Kent and East Sussex Railway operates from Tenterden in Kent to Bodiam; the Bluebell Railway from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead; and the Lavender Line Steam Railway near Lewes.

Trains in the county are operated by Southern, Southeastern, Thameslink and Great Western Railway. Southern is the key operator for the county, operating services along the West Coastway and East Coastway routes, as well as trains from Brighton, Eastbourne, Seaford and Hastings to London Victoria, and to a lesser extent London Bridge, which is also where trains to/from Uckfield go. Southeastern operate trains from London Charing Cross to Hastings. Thameslink operate trains from Brighton to Bedford, and Great Western Railway operate from Brighton to Bristol Temple Meads, Cardiff Central, Gloucester, Worcester Shrub Hill and Great Malvern.


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 Way, Vanguard Way, Wealdway and The Monarch's Way.


The Universities of Sussex and Brighton are based in East Sussex, with facilities in Brighton, Falmer and Hastings.

Over 150 primary schools serve the area; many of them small and local in scope.

State and independent secondary schools include Lewes Old Grammar School, which celebrated its 500th anniversary in 2012. Overall, more than 50 serve East Sussex, including further education colleges in larger towns.

A number of independent boarding schools are also located in the county, including Brighton College and Roedean. The Pestalozzi Children's Village, an international foundation, is located at Sedlescombe.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Sussex Oriental para niños

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