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The English word weald [ wiːld ] generally means a dense forest, in particular it is the name of an extensive wooded area that has stretched between the North Downs and the South Downs in the counties of Sussex and Kent , England since ancient times . But smaller forests are also called this in other parts of the country.

Nowadays most of these forests in England have been felled, so that often free cultivated landscapes now bear this name.

Word origin

The word Weald is derived from the Old English weald , which means forest and in turn comes from the Indo-European word for forest. The word Weald is therefore closely related to the German forest , the Dutch woud and the Old Norse completely .


Geological folding in the south east of England

The Weald as a geographical technical term describes the area in the south of England, which extends from the limestone cliffs of the ridge of the North Downs to the South Downs and whose foothills reach into the areas of Kent , East Sussex , West Sussex and Surrey .

The so-called Hohe Weald ( High Weald ), which is formed from higher hills, mountain ridges and valleys in the center of the weald, is an anticline , i.e. a geological saddle that is created by folding and opening rock layers through its arching.

This area covers approximately 1300 km² (500 square miles ) and is designated as an Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty (nature reserve). This means that this landscape is under special protection and special planning regulations and landscape maintenance must be observed.

The Weald-Artois anticline going from there is a mountain ridge made of chalk rock that runs from Kent to Artois in eastern France and touches the areas of Dover and Calais . 225,000 years ago this area was not yet separated by the English Channel .

The Weald area today

The proportion of forest in the Weald area is currently 23%; the landscape is therefore one of the largest wooded areas in England. Despite the strong population growth in the south of England, the landscape was able to retain its original character. Tunbridge Wells , Tonbridge , Crawley , Sevenoaks and other cities are still medium-sized centers that have not lost their traditional character as places of residence for London commuters.

Coordinates: 51 ° 0 ′ 0 ″  N , 0 ° 24 ′ 0 ″  W.