County of south England (since April 1997 Portsmouth and Southampton have been separate unitary authorities).
Area 3,679 sq km/1,420 sq mi
Towns and citiesWinchester (administrative headquarters), Aldershot, Andover, Basingstoke, Eastleigh, Gosport, Romsey, and Lymington
Physical New Forest (area 373 sq km/144 sq mi), in the southeast of the county, a Saxon royal hunting ground; rivers Avon, Ichen, and Test (which has trout fishing)
Features Hampshire Basin, where Britain has onshore and offshore oil; Danebury, 2,500-year-old Celtic hill fort; Beaulieu (including Abbey and National Motor Museum); Broadlands (home of Lord Mountbatten); Highclere castle (1842, home of the Earl of Carnarvon, with gardens by English landscape gardener Capability Brown); Hambledon, where the first cricket club was founded in 1750; site of the Roman town of Silchester; Jane Austen's cottage at Chawton (1809–17), now a museum; Twyford Down section of the M3 motorway was completed in 1994 despite protests
Agriculture market gardening (watercress)
Industries aeronautics, brewing, chemicals, electronics, light engineering, oil from refineries at Fawley, perfume, pharmaceuticals
Population (2001) 1,204,100
Famous people Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Gilbert White
Topography Hampshire is bounded on the south by the Solent and the Spithead, Southampton, and Portsmouth; on the west by Dorset and Wiltshire; on the north by West Berkshire and Wokingham; and on the east by Surrey and West Sussex. The county is divided by Southampton Water. The South Downs terminate south of Petersfield at Butser Hill (271 m/889 ft). There are also hills in the northern part of the county along the boundary, which are some of the highest chalk downs in England; the highest point of these hills is Sidown Hill (286 m/938 ft). There are the remains of the minor forests at Bere, Woolmer, Alice Holt, and Waltham Chase. About 377 ha/931 acres of common and manorial land on the northern edge of the New Forest were acquired in 1928 for the National Trust.
Historic remains In addition to Danebury, there are early fortified hilltop refuges at Old Winchester Hill; St Catherine's Hill, Winchester; Ladle Hill, Sydmonton; Beacon Hill, Burghclere; and Quarley Hill. There are convent ruins at Netley, Beaulieu, and Titchfield; notable monastic churches still in use are Winchester Cathedral (1079) and Romsey Abbey (c. 1120).
The armed services The Royal Navy has a museum at Gosport and a base at Portsmouth, and the army has important military depots and training areas at Aldershot and Bordon in the northeast, and at Tidworth in the northwest.
Hampshire County Council
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