About Mayfield and Five AshesThe Parish of Mayfield and Five Ashes is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty between Tunbridge Wells and Heathfield, in East Sussex. The landscape surrounding the villages is typical of the High Weald; rolling hills, studded with sandstone outcrops and cut by streams to form steep-sided ravines or gills; small irregular-shaped fields and patches of heathland; abundant woodlands; sunken lanes and paths and intimate views. Cattle grazing, with some sheep and dairying, is the dominant agricultural practice on the heavy damp soils. The present dispersed settlement pattern has its origins in the late medieval period and consists mainly of villages, hamlets and scattered farmsteads strung out along the ridges.
At present, the population of the parish totals 3651, with 25% being under 19 and 20% over 65 years old. The villages benefit from a vibrant and thriving community supporting many local businesses and trades. In Mayfield High Street, there is a wide range of shops including a pharmacy, butcher, greengrocer and shops selling electrical appliances, books, clothes and gifts. Within a few miles are several farm shops selling their own and other local produce. Four pubs can be found, all serving food plus a cafe and two tea shops. There are two primary and two private schools, one of them secondary. The two large public halls and several smaller meeting rooms host many of the 55 clubs and societies that the villagers run. These include the horticultural, wine and investment societies, the U3A, WI and theatre company. The cricket, tennis and bowls clubs all have their own facilities. For music lovers there is the bi-annual Mayfield Festival of Music and the Arts which attracts international performers, the 80 strong Mayfield Festival Choir and the Silver Band.
All this makes Mayfield a much sought-after place to live. However the maintenance and development of the community and its facilities take much energy, imagination and constant innovation (such as the Chamber of Commerce's Christmas Late Night Shopping evenings and the May Day Fair). Our semi-rural location makes us heavily reliant on cars and the supermarkets of Heathfield and Crowborough, and the shopping centre in Tunbridge Wells, are constant lures.
The Parish Council's Strategy and Plan 2006-2026 outlines the long-term development goals and actions for the community. While all are of interest to Transition Mayfield, the following are particularly so:
- the promotion of a vibrant village economy,
- consideration and development of a renewable energy plan for Mayfield and Five Ashes
- encouragement of the growth of locally produced organic foods both on farms, in gardens and in allotments.
[sources: (1) Mayfield and Five Ashes Parish Council Strategy and Plan 2006-2026;
(2) High Weald AONB; (3) Landscape characteristics: High Weald]