Area Guide: The busy Hertfordshire village of Redbourn
PUBLISHED: 14:17 23 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:17 23 June 2017
A thriving and proactive community resides in Redbourn, with a popular parish council centre offering opportunities for creative, sporting and educational clubs.
Kerrie Rhodes, a writer and former resident, describes Redbourn as: “A lovely village, with a countryside feel, but with access to the facilities of St Albans and Harpenden.” Adding that, because of the area’s popularity, “The traffic getting to and from St Albans in peak hour can be a challenge!”
Community, Clubs and Leisure
Redbourn has played host to many festivals and fairs over the years, namely the popular Hertfordshire County Show. This year the village will be hosting the Meraki Festival, August 11-13, with live performances from several famous faces, as well as a movie house, rides, gaming station and an enchanted forest, plus activities and events for children.
There is evidence to suggest that parts of the village were Iron Age and Saxon settlements.
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.
Now the common is used as a communal area for activities, picnics and walks. Kerrie says: “The highlight of the village for us was probably the Common - great for walks, bike riding, watching the cricket and going to the playground.”
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.
Even though Redbourn can often be overshadowed by its neighbours, it is jam-packed with convenience. There is a Co-Op and a corner store for everyday essentials, as well as a hairdressing salon, library, antiques store, museum, exercise studio, physiotherapist clinic, dentist, pharmacy, Post Office and florist. With all of these located on the high street, it’s a great way to tick off errands while taking a scenic stroll or grabbing a coffee.
Redbourn is just three miles away from Harpenden, whose station offers easy access to central London and other local towns. One stop will have you in St Albans city, stay on for 25 minutes and you’ll find yourself amid the hustle and bustle of central London.
There are several schools in Redbourn, of which Redbourn Infant and Nursery school received an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating. Redbourn Junior School was found to ‘require improvement’, however.
St Luke’s Foundation school, specialising in the care and education of children with learning difficulties, was rewarded a ‘good’ Ofsted rating, as was as Redbourn House nursery.
Wining and Dining
Redbourn has several food and drink hotspots, perfect for all occasions and seasons.
The George, established in 1589, is the oldest pub in Redbourn serving cask marque ales with a traditional English tavern atmosphere.
The Cricketers, looking out over Redbourn Common was a finalist in The Hertfordshire Food and Drink awards 2017 and winner of a Trip Advisor certificate of excellence. Take a seat in their modern dining room or in the rustic bar area and while away an evening sipping something from their extensive gin and wine selections.
The Chequers Inn is a 17th century coaching inn with a period thatched roof and distinctive features. Try their award winning steak and ale pie, tuck in outside in the leafy beer garden on lazy summer days or get cosy by the indoor wood-burner during the winter months. Take a leisurely cycle through the Dunstable Downs or along the historic Nickey Line and stop off for a pub lunch at The Chequers, the perfect respite for local cyclists, walkers and visitors alike.
There are a host of other dining options in Redbourn, from quaint country cafés to takeaway restaurants.
The Hub, independently set up in 2012, is a favourite café for locals. Homemade cakes and tray bakes, freshly brewed coffee and a variety of teas are all welcome treats for the customers that frequent its homely nooks. As well as this, Bike Loft, as part of The Hub, services bikes, repairs, replaces and sells parts and cycles. A must visit for keen cyclists in the area, or cake lovers!
The Holly Bush, Jenni’s, Sea Salt, Indian Nights and Charcoal Grill all offer restaurant and takeaway dining on Redbourn High Street.
A catalogue of convenience, scenic pathways and idyllic hotspots, Redbourn is the village that keeps on giving.