East of the Twilight Hills, the North Downs (S. "Tyrn Formen") sent forth their solid chins. Here rocky ridges often marched miles-long across northeastern Arthedain in a series of gigantic natural altars. Like steps descending from the east, they guarded the central kingdom, and provided a natural crest upon which was built the fortified city of Fornost Erain, Arthedain's present capital. Like the Far Downs and White Downs of southwestern Arthedain, the hills of the Tyrn Formen had steep faces and long sloping backs. The downs had formed as the layers of sedimentary rock sloped away from the mountains eroded unevenly—due to varying densities—in the damp, windy climate. From the west, they appeared as rows of walls, while from the east they created the illusion of gentle, undulating moors. The Tyrn Formen were bounded on the east by the main platform of the Eriadoran upland, the relatively flat chalk prairie called the Oiolad. On the west, their steeper faces (commonly called scarps, crags, stands, or glowers) dropped into the grassy rolling country of the Emeth Gelin. Rainwater that fell on the downs percolated into springs and streams that flew down to the Felemgil, the precipice forming the west bank of the River Fornthor and Lake Evendim, the source of the mighty Baranduin. At the southern end of the downs, just beyond the great vaulted crest of Norland's Glower, where Fornost Erain stood, the ridges plunged downward to bury themselves in rocky, white gravel. The gravel possessed enough seepage into the limestone below to keep this region, the Nan Turnath, from being more fertile than the downs themselves. At their northeast end, the downs merged with a higher, if less precipitous, range of hills, the Rammas Formen. It was here, where the Wall of the North and the downs came closest to meeting the outstretched arms of the Misty Mountains, that Arthedain had been in longest conflict with Angmar. Kingscrag, the greatest of Arthadan fortresses, save for Fornost itself, stood on a great spine of white rock pointing eastward over the barrens of Dyr Úvadan and the scattered relics of a hundred battles. The downs had some advantages not apparent in a simple description. The upturned rock layers that produced the crags and glowers and channel traveled through the region also tapped subterranean water and produced springfed pools, fens, and lush pastures in favored strips along the bottoms of sheltered valleys. At the north end of the downs—where the foothills of the ancient Iron Mountains had been shattered in the War of Wrath to become the Rammas Formen—excess rock and soil washed into vales in such quantities that true forests had thrived here throughout the Second and Third Ages. Eriadoran trappers and herders first came to Tyrn Formen in the Second Age, to be followed by tin and lead miners. The Dunadan Faithful found that the clear air of the crags was suitable for their observatories and that the manicured lines of the narrow valleys appealled to their sense of organization in farming and gardening. The North Downs remained a center of Dunadan religious activity for as long as the North Kingdom endured. In the Third Age, the downs had long suffered from the prescence of Angmar on their border. In the early days of the conflict, Eldanar Keep, within a day's march of the Misty Mountains, was the center of Arthadan military efforts; it fell to the Witch-king's forces in T.A. 1325. This opened the entire frontier to raids by Orcs and Easterling cavalary, and the peaceful way of life of the "Downsmen" changed rapidly and violently. A new line of fortifications, anchored by a great keep at Dol Gormain on the Rammas Formen, was built. Unfortunately, the line of defense was overly exposed. Kingscrag, at the eastern end ofbthe downs, along with outlying towers and the Rammas Aran, a series of defensive dikes, was built to support it. Dol Gormain fell to the Angmar in in T.A. 1408; Kingscrag had been the center of Arthedain's defence ever since. The fortress was too close to the settled lands of Arthedain to keep all the raiders out of the Downs; every farmhouse and village in eastern Arthedain eventually became a small fortress in its own right, and the endless drills of the militia became a more important part of the Downsmens' festivals then dance and trade. The bonfires of the Orcs of Angmar could be seen nightly from the eastern ridges. Twilight, eternally beautiful as the changing light casted color upon the white crags of the downs, was now a warning; the darkness came soon, and with it evil and fear.
The Sindarin name Tyrn Formen was seldom used after the fall of Arthedain, even by the Rangers of the North.The Downs were devastated by the Last War, haunted thereafter by undead creatures, sickness, and blight. Although only two days travel from the Northfarthing or Bree , the Downs were seldom visited save by Rangers and a few particularly brave or foolish trappers and hunters .
Places of Note
Amlaith's Scar (Stoneheight) Amon Amrûn Amon Raith Barad Eithel (the First Tower) Barad Harn (the Second Tower) Barad Narthan (the Stronghold) Cirith Nûr Crazy stone Goblin Camp Dol Dínen Dol Nendír The Eastern Ruins Esteldín (Dolindîr) Etten Caves Evendim Gate Falconer's Tower Fashat Laug Fornost Erain Gatson's Farm Gatson's South Fields Glírost Gurzlum Haudh Eglan Hîgropor Hîsuk Hrizgur Kamskut Kar Lak Lin Giliath Minas Erain (Final Tower) Minas Vrûn Mincham's Camp Nan Wathren Eastern Pass Nan Wathren Western Pass Nathan Hodge's Farm Merenost (Ost Ardúlin) Norbury Gates Ost Crithlanc Ost Galumar Ost Lagoros (Duintham) Ost Nuaran Othrikar Rusfold The Snares Tham Lorn Tham Úmdúr Thurûm Treasure Hunters' Camp Trestlebridge Trestlebridge Gate Trestlespan Tûmat Western Ruins William Peake's Farm
- LOTRO:The North Downs