Civray is twinned with Downham market in Norfolk, England and until recently I lived some of the time in a village two miles from Downham Market and some of the time in a village about 8 kilometers form Civray.
On the weekend before we moved from Downham Market I took some photos and so for all of you who live in or near Civray and have never visited Downham Market here is what you are missing!
The most photographed place in Downham is the clock tower. It stands at the centre of the town and is quite distinctive.
Downham was on the old A10 road which went from King’s Lynn down through Cambridge and eventually to London. Now there is a bypass but the legacy is that there are several large ex- coaching inns in the town. These still look quite impressive but have all perhaps seen better days.
As with most small towns in Engannd these days Downham has a large number of estate agents, banks and charity shops, none of which really add much to the shopping experience.
Despite the name… Downham Market, the town has one of the smallest markets you have ever seen, probably no more than 10 stalls, my favourite being Wards which supplies plants, seeds and shrubs.
It has the normal compliment of restaurants – fish and chip shops, Indian and Chinese along with traditional English fare in the hotel restaurants. It also has a number of tea rooms where you can get ‘a nice cuppa tea’. The best restaurant in town is Palmers. There is also Ozzy’s kebab van, almost rivalling the clock tower as an icon of Downham!
There is a Civray Avenue in the town boasting some smart modern houses and a road sign saying “Civray 628 miles”. At the playing field there is a gravel area where a few hardy souls gather each weekend to play Boules.
I suppose a comparison between Downham and Civray is inevitable.
They are both small towns. Downham is in the shadow of Norwich and Civray in the shadow of Poitiers, They are both on a river but the Charente runs through Civray and adds much to it’s beauty. The Great Ouse is down the hill from Downham and despite the town council hanging some plant containers on the bridge it certainly adds nothing to the town. Downham is in a bit of a time warp – the 1970’s still pervades the town. It is not quite a town where Elvis is still King- those places are to be found in Lincolnshire- but it is close! I lived there for 25 years – it did have a charm albeit a bit faded, but I liked it.
There is a site relating to the twinning club and I note that it’s latest addition is rather sad. Tinker Taylor who was instrumental in setting up the twinning in 1976 passed away a few days ago (May 2013) Click Downham Twinning Club to see what they are up to
So please look at the gallery of my Downham Market photos. Have fun.