Hampshire is a popular holiday area, with tourist attractions including its many seaside resorts, the maritime area in Portsmouth, and the motor museum at Beaulieu. The New ForestNational Park lies within the borders, as does a large area of the South Downs National Park. Hampshire has a long maritime history and two of England's largest ports lie on its coast. The county is famed as home of the writers Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.
The Northam Bridge was the brainchild of David Lance, who acquired land in Bitterne and built Chessel House there in 1796. Realising that access to his land was poor, he encouraged the building of a bridge linking Bitterne Manor to Northam, together with roads from the bridge to Botley and a further bridge over the River Hamble in Bursledon (and onwards to Portsmouth), with the fork between the Bursledon and Botley roads passing close to Chessel House.
The new roads and bridges were built in 1799, and were originally operated as toll roads. The first Northam Bridge was of wooden construction. The wooden bridge was replaced in 1889 by an iron bridge. The iron bridge was replaced in 1954 with a third bridge, made of prestressed concrete, and it is this bridge that still stands today.