Thought to have once been a Roman mining settlement, local industry in Balcombe today focuses on farming and timber. Situated on the High Wield, an area of outstanding natural beauty, the village stretches from the Ouse viaduct in the south to the forest ridges in the north and west.
The village consists of around 600 houses and is home to around 1,800 people. It lies half way between London and Brighton and is linked to both via the London/Brighton railway line. Both Haywards Heath and Crawley offer extensive shopping nearby.
Points of interest
South of Balcombe on the London to Brighton railway line is the Ouse Valley Viaduct. Designed by David Mocatta and completed in 1841, it is 100 feet high and 500 yards long. It has 37 arches and was built with 11m imported Dutch bricks.
Balcombe also boasts a fabulous set of 10-foot high murals about World War I in its Victory Hall. Lady Gertrude Denman – a daughter of Lord Cowdrey and a former owner of the Balcombe estate – commissioned artist Neville Lytton to paint the frescoes a few years after the war ended.
Lieutenant Colonel Frank Bourne DCM, who fought at the battle of Rorke’s Drift in the Zulu War in 1879 was born in Balcombe. And the late actor Paul Scofield was a resident of the village.