The arden is a large area of woodland and forest in the English county of Warwick, near to Stratford-upon-Avon. The name is believed to be derived from the Brythonic word ardu- meaning “high” or “highland”.
It was once a very thickly forested region, known as the Forest of Arden. The Forest of Arden was one of the last areas of untamed woodland in England. It was surrounded on the south by a prehistoric salt track, and no Roman road penetrated its interior. Instead it was bounded by Roman roads such as Icknield Street, Watling Street and Fosse Way, which ran along the edge of the forest.
Today, the arden is a tourist destination with a number of historic sites, including Arden Sandstone quarries and villages such as Temple Balsall. The area also hosts a number of national and international events, including the Shakespeare Festival, which is held every summer at Stratford-on-Avon.
Historically, the arden was a rich, fertile and varied land. Its soil was ideal for growing wheat, barley and other crops. The area was well-watered by the River Cole and River Blythe. The arden was a major source of food for the inhabitants of the nearby towns and cities.
There were many settlements in the area, including those at Henley-in-Arden and Coleshill. It was a centre for trade and crafts, as well as a place of worship.
The arden was the site of many of the important events in English history. It was a key location in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and is known for being home to many leading figures during the English Civil War of 1642-1651.
Tourism is a significant part of the local economy. Several villages in the area have been designated as places of historical interest, such as Lapworth and Henley-in-Arden.
In addition to these, the arden is home to a number of museums and visitor attractions. Some of these include the Arden Sandstone Museum, which houses a large collection of ancient stones, and the Castle and Abbey at Henley-in-Arden.
There are also many other historic buildings in the arden. These include the Old Town Hall and the Old Castle, both of which are Grade II listed.
The arden was also the site of numerous Roman forts and hill forts, including one at Henley-in-Arden. It is still possible to visit some of these sites.
It was also a popular meeting point for druids, as well as a place of pilgrimage. It was the home of the Knights Hospitaller from the 11th century until the Reformation.
The arden was also the site of many royal forests, a type of medieval forest law. The forest was large and dense, containing many dangers such as bears and wolves. It is possible that the forest was not subject to forest law, due to its size and density.