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A weald used to be a country of dense forests, but now has more open aspects. The name derives from the Old German wald for "wood" or "forest", and originally from a Norse word almost certainly meaning "wild".

In geographical terms the Weald is a particular area in southern England, that is situated between the chalk hills of the North Downs and South Downs, and that extends across the counties of Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex and Surrey.

The High Weald of higher hills, ridges and valleys is part of the "Wealden" anticline, once layered rock that later rose up and folded upward into an arched incline, as well as steep slopes falling away in certain parts of the area. It covers an area of 500 sq. miles and has been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Lower parts of the Weald form a gentler rolling countryside that is particularly popular with ramblers. The Weald has kept its wooded character to this day, the forest covering a record 23 per cent still of the countryside, and despite the population pressure in the South of England, it has not resulted in any major urban environment. Small towns such as Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Crawley, Sevenoaks, etc., are local centres which have attracted a certain number of commuters into London without having lost their character of old.

Wooded areas other than those situated between the Downs that have the name Weald are North Weald Bassett in Essex, and Harrow Weald in north west London.

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