Think of Hampshire and images of petticoated heroines, stiff-backed gentlemen and rolling rural landscapes of novelist Jane Austin (1775–1817) may spring to mind. But while still blessed with those undulating chalk downs and fertile agricultural valleys, this is a remarkably varied county. Winchester, once capital of the powerful Kingdom of Wessex that extended into Wiltshire and Dorset, delights with its fascinating cathedral and beautiful setting. The coastline too is rich in maritime history, not least at Portsmouth, home of the once-mighty Royal Navy. And Hampshire’s southwestern corner also claims the lovely open heath and woodlands of the New Forest.