Cross laminated timber (CLT) shear walls typically consist of solid engineered timber panels connected by metal hardware such as hold-downs, angle-brackets and others. Under seismic loads, the panel elements deform mainly in a rocking mode coupled with a sliding mode and small amount of in-plane bending/shear deformations. The connection system normally governs the lateral behaviour of CLT shear walls. This paper presents a finite element wall model CLTWALL2D to study CLT shear wall behaviour. The model consists of elastic orthotropic plate elements for the panels and nonlinear spring elements for the connections. Contact elements are also used for the panel-to-panel interactions. The nonlinear spring properties are represented by a subroutine called HYST that is able to model the strength and stiffness degradation and the pinching effect commonly observed in timber connections. The HYST parameters are calibrated by experimental data of CLT connections and embedded to the CLTWALL2D model. The wall model is validated against experimental data of a CLT shear wall test database. Parametric studies are then carried out to study the influence of gravity loads and vertical connection densities on the wall behaviour in terms of strength, stiffness, ductility, and energy dissipation.