Area forecasts are for a specific region. They are intended for domestic VFR flights below 10,000 feet, and are issued twice daily between 0530 and 0610, and between 1130 and 1210 local time. Cloud base and freezing level is forecast in feet above mean sea level and wind direction is in degrees true.
The ARFORs are the primary source for enroute weather conditions, particularly visibility and cloud. They also provide forecast winds at temperatures at altitude to help you choose cruising levels, and cloud base and tops to give you an indication of the Met conditions for VFR flight. They also set out any expectations of ice or turbulence, and the turbulence forecasts are rarely wrong. Interpret these with the local terrain in mind, considering its effect on the forecast weather.