Canton of Champtoceaux visit to
Verwood & Three Legged Cross
French friends from Verwood’s French twin town District
(Canton) of Champtoceaux
visited Verwood in May with 57 visitors hosted by local
families from Verwood and Three Legged Cross.
The Canton of Champtoceaux consists
of 8 Communes plus that of Champtoceaux itself, These are Bouzillé,
Champtoceaux, Drain, Landemont, Liré, Saint Christophe La
Couperie, Saint-Laurent-des-Autels, Saint-Sauveur-de-Landemont
and La Varenne. Visitors were from a wide age
range and included one family with young children.
The mayor of Saint-Sauveur-de-Landemont
M. Andre Martin guided the coach to the The HUB car park to
arrive at 15:45 where they were welcomed with refreshments
in The Hub. Guests and hosts, were then introduced,
some for the first time, but others greeting old friends
they had known for over 20 years.
this initial meeting it was nice to see Ron and Dorothy
Curd, now both in their nineties particularly as Ron was one
of the Councillors involved in the initial Twinning with
Champtoceaux and for many years was on the committee of the
twinning Association. It was also nice to see M. Alain
Levoyer with the party who at the time of the initial
twinning was the Mayor of Champtoceaux.
It is with regret though that M.
Carr from La Varenne who was heavily involved in the
Twinning on the French side, passed away last year, in his
90's. though it was still a pleasure to visit and
share a bottle of wine with him in 2005. Our best wishes to
At 9:00 on Friday (The first full day) a visit
to the Ancient
Technology Centre at Cranborne was arranged. This
inspiring educational Centre comprises numerous
reconstructed buildings from throughout history. They have
been built with the help of more than 80,000 Dorset school
students and older volunteers, over a period of 15 years,
using a a combination of ancient skills and archaeological
evidence. Luke Winter showed the visitors around (in
English) and his information was ably translated by Pascal
Barnes for the benefit of our French Friends.
Centre is situated in Cranborne Chase, and the site itself
consists of building reconstructions from throughout
history that have been built from locally harvested
The Centre specialises in exploring how
people lived in the past. How our ancestors fashioned tools
from flint or bone, how they kept out the cold and fed
themselves? How did they make rope and string from the
plants around them and how did they make fire? The
Centre staff and visiting groups are in the first
stages of constructing a new residential facility in the
form of a Viking Longhouse. Why not visit their website at http://www.ancienttechnologycentre.co.uk
At 11:30 it was necessary to leave
the centre to travel to Ocean Village in Southampton for a fish
and chip lunch followed by a "Three Rivers Cruise"
on a Blue Funnel line ship which lasted for over 3 hours
. The trip leaves the River Itchen and travels down
the Solent before entering the River Hamble and on this day
due to the state of the tide traveled as far as "The
Jolly Sailor" public house, famous for its place in the
English TV series "Howard's Way". On
returning to the Solent our catamaran sailed past
the Ocean Terminal (Departure point for Titanic and many
other famous liners) and up the River Test passing 3
extremely large container ships. We returned down the Solent
in time to see the P&O ship Artemis set sail and there
was also great excitement amongst our visitors because they
saw the Queen Mary II set sail. This was all the more
interesting for our visitors as she is French built at
the port of St. Nazaire, not too far from Champtoceaux.
a day with their host families on Saturday when many took
their guests to visit the "Heathland
Heritage Centre" in the morning, there was
a soiree at The Hub in the evening. This included a meal
followed by speeches from the representatives of the
Twinning Associations and Verwood Council, including M Alain
Levoyer and was followed by a barn dance for the rest of the
evening. The party left for France after lunch at 1:30 p.m.
on Sunday and arrived back home at 3:30 a.m. in the morning
- Partly because the driver had to have a 3/4 hour break at
"l'aire du Mont St Michel".
good time was had by all with the new word for the trip -
Click on the picture for a full view.
pictures and text by Stuart Clifton.