HAMPSHIRE

If a quiet walk is what you fancy then Hampshire has several interesting things on offer. To start with, a walk along the towpath of the Basingstoke Canal - running west from Crookham Village - is restful. There's also the 700 acres of Roydon Wood Nature Reserve.

The jewel, however, is the New Forest, one of Britain's great natural treasures. A mixture of 140sq.miles of forest and heathland the New Forest was once William the Conqueror's hunting ground. There's a visitor center at Lyndhurst.

For those who prefer historical sites there's Silchester Roman town, Northington Grange (an 18th century country house built in the neo-classical style of the period), and Portchester Castle. The latter is a very large and impressive defensive structure with a huge walled enclosure, and a keep tucked away in a corner behind yet more walls.

Henry VIII left his mark on Hampshire too. Hurst Castle guards the entrance to the Solent, while Calshot Castle ended up being used by the Royal Navy and RAF as a base.

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