Twinned Towns

Links to Twinned Towns

The idea of a twin town for Hythe & Dibden started in the mid 1980s with various individuals and groups showing an interest in twinning with a town in France. Both the residents of the Hythe Marina Village and the Hythe & Dibden Community Association felt that there might be some merit in the idea and that it warranted further investigation. The location of a suitable town in France was very difficult, though some were found, but as further investigations were made the interest from the Marina waned and it transpired that really all they wanted was the possibility of using the marina facilities of the town in France and not the development of any other formal or informal links. With limited interest the concept passed into a quiet watching brief. March 1989 saw the subject discussed in general at the Annual Parish Meeting and inquiries from three towns in France towards the end of the year ensured that the matter was again discussed at the following Annual Parish Meeting. This resulted in an agreement that the Parish Council would call a public meeting to see if there was sufficient interest within the Parish in developing twinning links with any of the three or with somewhere else.

Of the three towns concerned one was on the Franco-Belgian border, one on the Lower Loire and one was a fairly large town on the outskirts of Paris. Interim assessment of the three possibilities demonstrated that two of them were not really suitable but the third and most suitable was a small town called Mauves-sur Loire, near Nantes and contact with them was maintained in a general manner. There was an unfortunate delay in calling the public meeting and it did not actually take place until Monday, 11th February 1991.

At this meeting a talk on twinning was given by members of the Totton & Eling Twinning Association. After the subsequent questions and discussion it was decided to go ahead and a Steering Committee was set up to look into the possibility of twinning Hythe and Dibden with a town in France. As we already had contact with Mauves it was also decided that we would initially look at that town to see if it might be a practical twin. As Mauves was close to Le Loroux Bottereau, the twin town of Totton, and as a visit had been arranged by Totton to visit their twin at Easter 1991 it was agreed that members of the Steering Committee should accompany them and visit Mauves.

The initial visit was very successful. The people in Mauves extended a great hand of friendship to their visitors and the weekend flew by. The Committee members were very sad to leave being greatly impressed by the kindness of the Malviens and the delightfulness of the town and its surrounding countryside. The following August a visit was organised in the opposite direction in order for the members of the Mauves' Exchange Group to see for themselves what a delightful place Hythe and Dibden was.

October again saw a small group from Hythe and Dibden in Mauves to attend their annual arts festival; the Automnales. The festival, which encompasses music in all forms, theatre and a painting competition, was the inspiration for the later Waterside Arts Festival.

As all the auguries looked favourable it was decided to continue with the development of links between the two towns and at the Annual General Meeting of the Steering Committee, held on the 6th March 1992, a formal constitution was adopted and the Steering Group became the 'Hythe and Dibden Twinning Association'.

Over the following two years there were further successful visits by members in both directions including both in 1992 and 1994 the entry of a local under fifteen football team in an international competition held in Mauves and Le Cellier the next town. With 12 French teams and 7 other teams from various European countries including Russia our boys were able to enjoy a truly international competition.

Early in 1994 it was agreed after consultation with our Malvien counterparts to seek the agreement of our respective Councils to a full twinning agreement. This was forthcoming and the agreement was signed in Mauves at Easter of that year by the Chairmen of Hythe and Dibden Parish Council, The Mayor of Mauves-sur-Loire and the Chairmen of the respective Twinning Associations. A Reciprocal signing was made here in Hythe at Easter the following year. The two documents are now proudly displayed in the Council Chambers in the two towns.

What is Twinning?

Twinning is the term which describes a special relationship between two communities in different countries.

It is the means by which individuals, families, groups and communities get to know each other better.

A twinning should provide scope to involve people of all ages, levels and interests and should cut across boundaries, including political ones.

It is a way of taking an active interest in the affairs of another country and enjoying yourself at the same time.

How does Twinning Work?

Twinning consists of visits by individuals, families, sporting or other groups to their counterparts in the twinned town. Usually travelling as part of a group they stay with a family for the whole of the visit but may take some meals with other members of the host twinning group. Entertainment in the widest sense is provided by the hosts and the whole process is reciprocated when the visit is the other way.

How is Twinning Financed?

Twinning is self financing and is usually not funded by the Local Councils. The cost of the transport to and from the twin town is borne by the traveller while accommodation, meals and entertainment is provided by the hosts. The cost of any entertainment for the whole group would be born by the host Twinning Association. There is thus a necessity for the Twinning Association to raise funds to cover the cost of receiving visits and for their entertainment.

For further information about Mauves-sur-Loire or the Twinning Association contact Graham Parkes

Tel: 023 80 847388 or via e-mail

The Commune and the Town

Mauves-sur-Loire is a small town situated 10 miles from Nantes on the north bank of the River Loire with the main road from Nantes to Paris passing just to the north of it. The town is positioned on the southern edge of the commune (parish area) which runs for about two miles along the banks of the river and inland for about 5 miles.

The river frontage is very steeply sloping and in one area, where the railway had to be cut through on the edge of the river, there is now a cliff face. The slopes are cut by short, steep sided, stream valleys while the whole of the south west boundary of the commune is formed by the valley of the Gobert stream. Running off from this valley is another steep sided valley, parallel to the river, which divides the commune into two unequal portions. This valley is heavily wooded and known as the Coulée de Rochart. The commune is also split along lines parallel to the river by firstly the railway line, then Route Nationale 23 and then the A 11 Motorway.

The town area is in two halves with the old town (Le Port) down on the flood plain of the Loire and the new town above the port on a plateau between two small valleys. The remainder of the commune area is farm land interspersed with small hamlets and individual houses. Some new housing development has recently taken place on the two small plateaux to the east of the town and also adjacent to RN 23.

Mauves was originally linked to the south bank of the Loire by a ford. This ford was removed by dredging of the river during the middle of the 18th Century and the only crossing was by ferry boat. This situation was only improved when the ferry crossing was replaced by the present bridge in 1882. Designed by Eiffel it is one of a series across the lower Loire.

The town logo symbolises the town with the church spire overlooking the River Loire with the bridge linking to the south bank and to the future.