Area Guide: The busy Hertfordshire village of Redbourn
PUBLISHED: 12:42 11 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:55 12 October 2018
Its not unusual for Redbourn locals to greet passing strangers with a warm “hello” - a rare occurance in the neighbouring towns. We found out more about this friendly community...
With a couple of convenience stores, a handful of cafés, a pharmacy, and a whole lot more, all of your day-to-day needs can easily be met on Redbourn’s thriving High Street.
The village also has a library, a bowls club and a folk club among other community groups, plus annual events such as a fireworks display on the Common.
Redbourn Players is a local amateur dramatics society that meets twice a week during the autumn and spring at its own studio on Lamb Lane. Their next production, a version of Peter Gordon comedy Out of Focus, will be on at Redbourn Village Hall in December.
The small-but-perfectly-formed Redbourn Village Museum, located within a former silk mill on the Common, offers insight into the village - parts of which are believed to date back to the Iron Age.
During the Medieval period there were two mounds on the Common, known as ‘Mounds of the Banners’, which were thought to have been Saxon graves dating back to the 8th century. Suspicion of the contents of the graves mounted during the 1100s, with rumours that St Amphibalus, the priest who converted St Alban to christianity, was buried there. The mounds were dug and the discovered bones were laid to rest in the Abbey.
These days the Common is used as a communal area for activities, picnics and walks, bike rides and cricket matches. It also has a play area for young children.
Silk throwing was carried out at the steam powered Woollam’s Mill near the Common from 1857 until the beginning of WWII, when it was purchased by Brooke Bond, the famous tea manufacturers, as a tea packaging company.
Employing over 350 people during the war, Brooke Bond was a lifeline for many Redbourn families. Bizarrely, and tragically, during this time there were reports that a young man who had fallen into a vat of the factory’s jam had perished. Referred to locally as ‘Sticky Joe’, the unfortunate chap was commemorated by local school children in 2003 with a memorial bench.
On the grounds of Woollam Mill was the mill manager’s house, which has since been converted into Redbourn Village Museum. The village hall that we see today was also once a reputable and lucrative straw hat making factory. The River Ver’s past life was equally as random, used from 1866 until the mid 1900s as a watercress farm.
Immediately east of the M1 and three miles south west of Harpenden, Redbourn residents are able to enjoy their rural idyll without having to worry about being isolated from the wider world. Hemel Hempstead and St Albans are also within five miles of the village.
Redbourn Infants’ and Nursery School – rated ‘outstanding’ at its last Ofsted inspection – and the under-performing Redbourn Junior School have recently merged to form Redbourn Primary School. Located on Long Cutt, the school is ideally placed between the High Street and the Common. Features of the school’s attractive grounds include a community allotment and a forest school, which is accessed by the children on a rolling timetable.
The village is also home to St Luke’s School (‘good’), which is for children with special educational needs.
Homes currently on the market in Redbourn range from a five-bed detached home on Redding Lane for £1,200,000 to a one-bed top floor apartment on Hemel Hempstead Road for £235,000.
According to Rightmove, the overall average price for a property in Redbourn last year was £504,788, down 4 per cent on 2016.
Most sales were of semi-detached properties which changed hands for an average of £492,804, while detached homes sold for an average price of £739,719.
Eating and drinking
For somewhere so small, Redbourn offers a wide selection of eating and drinking establishments.
The Cricketers on East Common is a quaint village pub in a picture perfect setting. Friendly staff, a solid selection of ales and a menu featuring classic pub grub among other options make this place a hit with locals and visitors alike.
The Enchanted Tea Rooms on High Street is a popular spot for afternoon tea, light bites and tasty homemade cakes.
The Hub, also on High Street, is a ‘coffee bar and cyclist’s refuge’ which promises a warm welcome to all visitors, “not only cyclists and (well behaved) dogs and their owners”.
Other appealing options include The Hollybush pub on Church End and, for anyone seeking a tasty takeaway, The Old Cottage fish and chip shop on High Street.