The Arden

A forest area with a variety of native trees and shrubs, characterized by the abundance of wildflowers and wildlife. The arden is surrounded by woodlands and volunteers maintain their natural beauty with annual woods cleanups, ivy pulls and other events.

The arden was a source of inspiration for Shakespeare, and it continues to fascinate artists such as the pre-Raphaelite John Collier. Its size and density may have contributed to its mythological nature as a forest of fairies and fairytale characters. The Domesday book suggests that the area was still sparsely settled by 1086, with Iron Age hill forts and Roman forts, Anglo-Saxon settlements at Henley-in-Arden and Coleshill, and a medieval era wayside cross at Coughton, where travellers would pray for safe passage through the royal forest.

Its imposing presence overlies an underlying landscape of clay that results in natural vegetation of dense broad-leaved woodlands like oak and lime, with occasional bare ground and heathland. the arden was a great area of biodiversity and its woods were known for their beauty, with a variety of birds and mammals including deer and badgers. Bears and wolves did not become extinct in England until the sixth and seventeenth centuries respectively, and they were known to inhabit parts of the Arden area.

In addition to the Fair, the non-profit Arden Club offers concerts, musicals, plays, dances, Saturday evening dinners and programs throughout the year. Its proceeds help to maintain Arden Gild Hall, a cultural center open to the public for performances and programs.