Watlington–Mansle Twinning

Who is Watlington twinned with?

We signed a twinning charter with the small French town of Mansle in 1990. Mansle is in the north of the agricultural department of Charentes, a rural area sharing many features with South Oxfordshire. It is situated just off the N 10, south of Poitiers and 22 km (14 miles) north of Angouleme on the ancient route to Bordeaux and Spain.

To view pictures of our 2010 visit to Mansle please click here.

More about Mansle

Mansle is a pretty town situated on the River Charente. The bridge at Mansle can be compared to those of the Thames, but the church, with its Romanesque origins, and the imposing town hall adjacent is distinctively French. The town has a great range of shops, a market, primary and secondary schools, a good 2* hotel and a camp site alongside the river. There is a swimming pool, tennis courts, a square for petanque, and boating is available on the river. Mansle also has a popular botanical garden and is surrounded by a patchwork of hamlets which are linked for administrative purposes.

What is town twinning?

Town twinning is an agreement of goodwill made between two (or more) towns of similar size and character in their differentcountries. Reciprocal two-way visits foster personal relationships, goodwill and mutual understanding between the two communities. By visiting our twin town, staying with a family and sharing in the way of life of a different culture, we discover what we have in common and learn to understand and enjoy our differences – such as French cuisine!

When Mansle made its first twinning visit to Watlington we named the garden next to The Meadows in honour of our French friends, and in Mansle you can stroll along the 'Rue de Watlington'! For the last two decades individuals and groups have travelled between our two communities for competitions, celebrations and for employment.

The aims of the Watlington–Mansle Twinning Association

The Association wants to make twinning accessible to all sectors of our community and would like to hear from any group wishing to make an exchange visit. These are some of the areas in which we would like to see exchange visits being made:

  • education, training and work experience
  • culture music and the arts
  • sport and recreation
  • business and tourism development
  • social visits

We particularly want to support exchanges involving young people.

How is the Association run?

The Twinning Association is an independent organisation and relies on the energy and enthusiasm of local residents to make the programme work. A small committee of volunteers runs the twinning programme and keeps in regular contact with our counterparts in Mansle.

How is twinning funded?

The Association relies almost exclusively on our fundraising efforts to support our activities. These funds are needed to meet the costs of receiving visiting groups from Mansle. We rely on local families to provide hospitality, but additional funds are needed for receptions and social gatherings in Watlington which provide excellent opportunities for the visitors and local people to meet. We are hoping to get some funding from the European Commission to help towards Mansle’s next visit to Watlington in 2011.

Groups and people travelling abroad are responsible for funding their own transport costs. The Association assists with helping individuals getting together in order to reduce travel costs and in finding accommodation through our counterparts in Mansle.

How can I get involved?

There are no limits to the extent to which the twinning programme can be developed for the benefit of our community. We look to local residents and groups to put forward ideas so that the programme reflects the needs and wishes of as many as possible. If you can offer your help on a regular or seasonal basis, for example by helping with fundraising or by putting up visitors in your home, this will help to enlarge and expand our twinning link. Getting involved with our French visitors will provide opportunities for visiting Mansle.

To offer help and for further information:

Email: watmansle@live.co.uk

Telephone: 01491 612371

Address:    Watlington-Mansle Twinning Association
c/o Watlington Community Office
1 Old School Place
OX49 5QH