Travelling through Surrey into Hampshire, there is a discernible difference in the countryside. Hampshire rolls more than Surrey, at least it seems that way to me. It also seems less populous. Actually, both counties have a population of around 1.2 million – and if you include Southampton and Portsmouth the population rises to 1.3 million. There seems to be more farmland in Hampshire.

For the most part, I like Hampshire rather more than Surrey. The chalky downland gives rise to the Itchen and the Test, both trout rivers. I don’t want to catch them, but I do want to be able to stand on the riverbank or a bridge and watch them hunting. The downs are also home to a lot of wildflowers and the butterflies and moths that are connected to them.

Like all of the English counties, Hampshire is ruined by roads. One only has to approach a busy motorway by foot to suddenly have a very clear understanding of the madness at the heart of our culture. Thank goodness that there are still some pockets of beauty left in Hampshire.