17 Facts About Weald


Weald is an area of South East England between the parallel chalk escarpments of the North and the South Downs.

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The Weald once was covered with forest, and its name, Old English in origin, signifies "woodland".

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Name "Weald" is derived from the Old English weald, meaning "forest" .

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Weald is specifically a West Saxon form; wold is the Anglian form of the word.

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Weald is the eroded remains of a geological structure, an anticline, a dome of layered Lower Cretaceous rocks cut through by weathering to expose the layers as sandstone ridges and clay valleys.

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The Weald was used for centuries, possibly since the Iron Age, for transhumance of animals along droveways in the summer months.

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Forests of the Weald were often used as a place of refuge and sanctuary.

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Many places within the Weald have retained names from this time, linking them to the original communities by the addition of the suffix "-den": for example, Tenterden was the area used by the people of Thanet.

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Permanent settlements in much of the Weald developed much later than in other parts of lowland Britain, although there were as many as one hundred furnaces and forges operating by the later 16th century, employing large numbers of people.

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In 1216 during the First Barons' War, a guerilla force of archers from the Weald, led by William of Cassingham, ambushed the French occupying army led by Prince Louis near Lewes and drove them to the coast at Winchelsea.

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Inhabitants of the Weald remained largely independent and hostile to outsiders during the next decades.

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Weald assumed the rate of erosion was around one inch per century and calculated the age of the Weald at around 300 million years.

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Weald begins north-east of Petersfield in Hampshire and extends across Surrey and Kent in the north, and Sussex in the south.

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Weald is drained by the many streams radiating from it, the majority being tributaries of the surrounding major rivers: particularly the Mole, Medway, Stour, Rother, Cuckmere, Ouse, Adur and Arun.

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Weald has its own breed of cattle, called the Sussex, although it has been as numerous in Kent and parts of Surrey.

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Weald has been associated with many writers, particularly in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

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The related game of stoolball is still popular in the Weald, it was originally played mainly by women's teams, but since the formation of the Sussex league at the beginning of the 20th century it has been played by both men and women.

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