East Hampshire Maps

Two very different landscapes typify this richly farmed and deeply rural AONB.

 

In the south and west, the rolling chalk downland characterised by dry valleys and dotted woodland is a natural extension of the Sussex Downs. In contrast, a series of steep, heavily wooded scarp slopes form the northern and eastern third of the AONB, meeting the Surrey and Sussex borders in heaths and woodland.  The AONB also contains the rich green Meon and Rother Valleys, famous fishing country, with their deep flowering lanes and colour-washed half-timbered villages. 
 
Ecologically, the AONB is extremely important with three National Nature Reserves, many Sites of Special Scientific Interest and taking in part of the South Downs Environmentally Sensitive Area. The downs, with their flora-rich remnants of unimproved pasture, are also an important archaeological area. East Hampshire's superb broadleaved woodlands of hanger beech, ash, wych elm and lime form one of the most important of such areas in Britain.
 
The AONB includes the country town of Petersfield and has a scattering of attractive villages such as West Meon and Warnford. Chawton, just outside of the AONB, was the home of novelist Jane Austen. A prosperous farming area, with large, mainly arable holdings on the chalk downs, the AONB is also increasingly sought-after commuter country for nearby Winchester, the Solent towns and London.
 
Recreational demand in the AONB is largely informal with an emphasis on traditional country activities such as walking, fishing, riding, hunting and shooting together with some motor sport. Three long distance routes pass through the AONB, the Hanger's Way, Staunton Way and the Wayfarer's Walk.

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