The arden is a large area of densely forested land, which extends from the city of Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire to Tamworth in Staffordshire. The forest has many historical and cultural associations, including the name of the play As You Like It (written by Shakespeare).
In the past, the forest was an important military and commercial centre in the region. It was the site of an Iron Age hillfort in Henley-in-Arden and a Roman fort at Droitwich, as well as a number of Anglo-Saxon settlements. The area was also the location of a medieval wayside cross at Coughton Court, where travellers would pray before entering the forest.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the forest was inhabited during the Stone Age. It is likely that a prehistoric salt track passed through the forest and reached the River Alne.
Throughout the medieval era, the forest was often used for defences against scouts and raiders. It was also a major trade centre for the wool trade in the thirteenth century.
Tourism and recreation is an important part of the local economy, with a wide variety of activities taking place across the region. The forest is a popular destination for walkers, hikers and cyclists, as it offers picturesque scenery and woodlands, and is home to a number of rivers such as the River Cole and the River Blythe.
The arden is an attractive location for outdoor events, and there are several festivals held here each year. One of the most famous is the arden festival, held in July and featuring a range of traditional events.
A thriving shopping centre is also located in the arden, with an extensive array of stores and restaurants offering something for everyone. The centre is owned by Fulcrum and is a significant regional asset, with high-end national tenants and excellent freeway access.
Another important tourist attraction is the arden hotel and country club complex, with its spectacular views and luxurious accommodation. This is a popular venue for weddings and business meetings.
The area is also home to a range of theatres, museums and art galleries. The arden library is a leading centre for the study of William Shakespeare.
‘Arden’ has a long tradition of setting the gold standard in annotated, scholarly editions of Shakespeare’s plays. Each arden edition features comprehensive commentary notes glossing meanings, discussing staging issues and explaining literary allusions, together with an extensive, illustrated introduction by a leading scholar exploring the play’s critical, theatrical and historical contexts.
The arden is a unique and historic place, renowned for its beauty and diversity. It is an ideal setting for a day out with the family, or to get away from it all and relax in nature.