In an age of mass production, this community of craftspeople is a throwback to an earlier, simpler way of life. A focus on theater, craftsmanship and art generates the close-knit character of the village seen at the fair.
The Ardens were founded in 1900 as a single-tax community based on the economic philosophy of Henry George, the garden city movement of Ebenezer Howard and the Arts and Crafts movement of William Morris. Half of the Village is forests and greens, which are not taxed. This contributes to the Town’s “Tree City USA” status with a 73% tree canopy.
The village has a variety of shops and restaurants, and a large library. The town’s center is the Gild Hall, a former barn built in 1850 that now serves as the venue for concerts, dinners, theatrical performances and other community events. The Moonlight Theater sits to the south of Gild Hall and the Arden Pool is located at the rear of the property.
The ardens are home to the Arden Way, a UK National Trail that traces old paths and routes through the ancient Forest of Arden. The area is also part of the Cannock Chase and Cotswold Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is also known for its distinctive Triassic white heterolithic sandstone, which is used in many of the local buildings. A medieval era wayside cross called Coughton Cross is located at the southern boundary of the Forest, where it was believed that travellers prayed for safe passage before entering.