Cranbrook and Sissinghurst fall within the Borough of Tunbridge Wells and are represented in Parliament by the Member for Maidstone. Roughly equidistant and easily accessible to these two important urban centres, Cranbrook and Sissinghurst have nonetheless preserved their rural aspect and a remarkably high level of self-sufficiency.
Cranbrook’s size (population approximately 7,200) belies its status as “Capital of the Weald”. A market town since 1289, Cranbrook is still the obvious choice of shopping for the surrounding villages as well as residents and workers in the town. The diversity of retail outlets includes several specialist stores that attract shoppers from a great distance. Monthly Farmers’ Markets in Vestry Hall and Sissinghurst Castle Gardens underline the continuing importance of agriculture to the local economy. The town sustains a wide range of businesses and services including most notably 2 major secondary schools: the grammar school in the town centre and High Weald Academy, a comprehensive school, on the outskirts. High Weald Academy’s special sports status is supported by the adjacent Weald Sports Centre as well as many dedicated Clubs including Rugby, Cricket, Tennis, Bowls and Golf. Cranbrook School’s Queen’s Hall hosts professional and amateur theatrical entertainments and the Cranbrook Film Club. Art Shows are held regularly in the town and Cranbrook Orchestra and Cranbrook Choral Society frequently perform at St Dunstan’s Church, which features in “England’s Thousand Best Churches” by Simon Jenkins
The historic Churchyard is a place of pilgrimage for many visitors from USA, Canada and Australia exploring their origins. The current local burial ground in Cranbrook is at Golford where stained glass windows including those representing the Four Seasons in the Weald have been installed in the Chapel.
The Parish Council is dedicated to maintaining the beauty and tranquillity of the graveyards of Cranbrook and Sissinghurst. Equally important in the Council’s agenda is the maintenance of public areas for leisure and recreation. A well-constructed walkway through the Crane Valley Nature Reserve affords a fascinating glimpse of prehistoric marshlands, while the Ball and Jubilee Fields provide plenty of space and play equipment for outdoor amusements.