In general the lowland zone is a great plain with a gentle, undulating surface and extensive areas of almost-level ground. It receives less rain and more sunshine than the highland zone and much of the soil in the zone is fertile. Most of the lowland region is less than 150 m (500 ft) above sea level, and the hills rarely reach more than 300 m (1,000 ft) above sea level. It has been extensively inhabited, farmed, and grazed for thousands of years. Most of Britain's population lives densely packed into the lowland zone, which covers most of England. The metropolis of London and most of Britain's large cities are located in the lowland zone.
The flattest lands in the lowland zone are in the east, particularly on the large, hump-shaped area called East Anglia. The inlet called the Wash is located off East Anglia's northern coast. The Wash was once surrounded by the flat, swampy areas of the Fenlands, or the Fens, most of which has now been drained. The broad, rolling Midland Plain is south of the Pennine Chain. Northwest of this plain, on the western side of the Pennines, is the Lancashire-Cheshire plain. Another plain extends from the eastern slope of the Pennines to the sea. It is broken in the north by the Yorkshire Moors, a high wasteland overgrown with coarse plants.
Several chains of low hills break up the lowland plain. They are sometimes called scarplands or escarpments, meaning that they tend to drop steeply on one side and slope gently downward on the other side. One of these upland ridges, the South Downs, runs along the southern coast eastward from the Salisbury Plain. Running parallel to this ridge, south of the Thames valley, are the North Downs. In between the North Downs and the South Downs is a region called The Weald, an area of scenic, gentle hills. Another elevated chain is the Chiltern Hills, which stretch southwest from the central part of the lowland plain. The Cotswold Hills lie to the west near Wales. The Cotswolds and the plain's northern hills have a limestone base, while the Downs have a chalk base.