A district in the north of Warwickshire, England, the "woodland" as opposed to the "felden," or "fielden," i.e. open country, in the south, the river Avon separating the two. Originally it was part of a forest tract of far wider extent than that within the confines of the county, and now, though lacking the true character of a forest, it is still unusually well wooded. The undulating surface ranges for the most part from 250 to 500 ft. in elevation. Wide lands in this district were held in the time of Edward the Confessor by Alwin, whose son Thurkill of Warwick, or "of Arden," founded the family of the Warwickshire Ardens who in Queen Elizabeth's time still held several of the manors ascribed to Thurkill in "Domesday." Shakespeare, whose mother Mary Arden claimed to be of this family, knew the district well, living as he did at Stratford; and its natural characteristics, then still unchanged, inspired his pictures of forest life in "As You Like It." The name of the Forest of Arden, besides remaining a convenient designation of a well-marked physical area, is preserved in such place-names as Henley-in-Arden and Hampton-in-Arden.
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