Area Guide: Kinsbourne Green, a leafy hamlet next door to Harpenden
- Credit: Archant
An attractive hamlet surrounded by open countryside but within a short drive of all of Harpenden’s amenities, it’s easy to see the appeal of Kinsbourne Green. We found out more about this peaceful place.
While it may seem to be fully absorbed into Harpenden, Kinsbourne Green is very much a place in its own right, with local amenities including a post office, a dentist and, somewhat surprisingly, a garage door shop.
Its easy access to the M1 and Harpenden train station make the location ideal for commuters, while it also benefits from proximity to the neighbouring town’s shops, bars and restaurants.
Richard Burton, a Herts Ad writer who lives nearby, says the Common is “one of the true remaining unspoilt green spaces.
“All the funfairs, car shows and circuses use the one in town. This stands fallow all year and is something of a haven for dog walkers and joggers.”
Kinsbourne Green’s streetscape is ever evolving. Charlie’s Chinese restaurant, once a Luton Road landmark, was demolished in 2016 to make way for six new homes. Richard says this was “a loss” to the area, adding: “It was good to have a decent Chinese this end of town you could walk to.”
The large plot at the corner of Annables Lane and Kinsbourne Green Lane is also undergoing a major change. There, in an advanced state of construction, is the new build property that replaced Highlands – the most expensive house sold in Herts in 2016.
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Properties currently on the market in Kinsbourne Green include a four-bed end terrace on The Harrows for £875,000 and a three-bed semi-detached bungalow on The Close for £675,000. According to Rightmove, the average selling price for a Kinsbourne Green property during 2018 was £810,428.
Kinsbourne Green is close to some of Harpenden’s most popular state schools - but they’re also among the area’s most oversubscribed. For primary students, Wood End and Roundwood are both rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. Roundwood Park (‘outstanding’) is the closest secondary school.
There were once four pubs in Kinsbourne Green, but only The Fox remains. The Whip is now a house known as Whip Cottage, The First and Last was demolished in 1974 and Charlie’s - originally known as The Harrow – went the same way. The Fox – formerly known as The Smyth Arms – is a busy, family-friendly gastropub with a modern British/Mediterranean menu.
“The Fox is one of the town’s most popular,” says Richard. “Cars regularly overspill the biggish car park and line the verges outside.”
St Mary’s was built in 1869 as a combined church and school - but while the school closed in 1955, the church remains at the heart of the Kinsbourne Green community. It has a Sunday school for children aged three to 11 and a trained pastoral team that visit people in need in the community. Fund-raising events include the Harvest Supper, the annual fete and regular quizzes. Kinsbourne Common Hall, which flanks St Mary’s, is a favourite with parents as a children’s party venue.
There was once a methodist church in Kinsbourne Green, though declining numbers resulted in its closure in 2002. The church was sold to developers in 2003 and houses were subsequently built on the site.
Littlefield Farm has been selling Christmas trees for decades. Furthermore, they provide excellent service, offering hot apple punch on the weekends alongside their own home-grown apples. They were awarded the Local Farmer Christmas Tree Grower of the Year award in 2005 and later procured a tree for Number 10 Downing Street.
“From December 1 every year, many of us ceremonially queue to strap them on to our roof racks fuelled by apple punch and aided by a local Scout troop,” Richard says.
Nearby Annables Farm also offers an excellent community initiative, in the form of Ian Piggott’s popular farm school for kids.
The Turner’s Hall fire
Drama and controversy ensued on the night of November 4 1826, when a fire began in the lamb house at Turner’s Hall Farm, and later spread to the stable and the barn. The fire consumed the stables, the barn - which was full of corn - and the majority of the livestock.
While everyone on the farm grounds was distracted, a band of gypsies from the nearby heath looted the manor house. They also took the most valuable contents, such as jewellery and furniture, and even looted the wine cellar, drinking it all.