10 reasons to love Redbourn
PUBLISHED: 11:52 23 June 2015
Near Harpenden and St Albans, Redbourn has been a site people called home from the Iron Age. Today, families practically queue up to become part of its 6,000-strong population, but whether you visit for the day or wish to settle here, there's plenty of reasons to love the village
1 Into the past
Redbourn proudly embraces its history. For instance, 2010 saw an array of festivities to mark the its church, St Mary’s, having been a part of the village for a whopping 900 years.
Villagers have also commemorated less conventional historic events. In 2003, local schoolchildren successfully campaigned for a memorial bench for ‘Sticky Joe’, a young man who perished in a vat of jam at a factory in the village during the early 20th century.
Places of historical interest include The Aubreys, an Iron Age hill fortand Friar’s Wash, the site of a Roman temple complex excavated by Channel 4’s Time Team in 2008.
2 Walks and orchids
There are plenty of places to enjoy a stroll around Redbourn. St Alban’s Tour Guides offer a guided walk here, with the next one on August 9 (see stalbanstourguides.co.uk). Friends of the Nickey Line also hold regular walks down a former branch railway line - now a footpath and cycleway through the village. On June 14, the friends will host its popular orchids walk, taking in two orchid sites around the village. See nickeyline.org for full details.
3 Redbourn Museum
Once the home of the manager of a local silk mill, the Grade II-listed Redbourn Village Museum charts the village’s history from Iron Age as well as hosting regular special exhibitions.
This month it’s Redbourn in Steam, including a full-size steam engine on display and train rides, as well as a fire engine exhibition. It’s taking place on Father’s Day (Sunday June 21) - the perfect treat for dads and children alike. redbourn.org.uk
4 Redbournbury Mill
With the pretty River Ver to its east, the village is lucky to still have a working watermill nearby in the hamlet of Redbournbury, run by a dedicated team of volunteers who produce stoneground organic flours and a wide range of breads. You can buy these at local farmers’ markets, but it’s worth visiting the mill to attend one of its wonderful day courses to master the art of bread making or to browse the shop and museum. The area around the mill is also a great place to spot river wildlife including kingfishers. redbournburymill.co.uk
5 Aubrey Park
If fine dining is your thing, a visit to Aubrey Park Hotel’s light, bright brasserie is not to be missed. With a tempting menu of seasonal, local produce on offer it also has regular special offers, such as buying a main course and getting another free. aubreypark.co.uk
6 The Cricketers
One of the village’s most popular attractions is its brilliant pub, The Cricketers, which seamlessly blends a comfy traditional atmosphere with a highly-regarded contemporary restaurant (it’s well worth booking a place on the sushi and prosecco nights on Fridays). The pub also holds popular monthly charity quiz nights, helping a different local cause each time. See thecricketersofredbourn.co.uk
7 350 years of cricket
The Cricketers pub gets its name from the community’s strong connection to this most English of sports – it is thought that cricket has been played on Redbourn Common since as far back as 1666. Redbourn Cricket Club is one of the oldest in Hertfordshire, and June is the perfect month to wander down and watch a match or two, with regular fixtures on The Common and at the Recreation Centre. redbourn.play-cricket.com
8 Sport and fitness
For a small village, Redbourn has an impressive variety of sports classes, from dance lessons and badminton at the village hall to yoga, netball, ju jitsu and table tennis at the recreation centre. Search ‘Redbourn Village Hall’ on Facebook or visit redbournrecreation.co.uk to find new ways to get active.
9 Welcoming community
Villages can become insular and cliquey, but Redbourn appeals to so many because of its friendly residents and sense of community spirit. Social opportunities abound, with regular folk club nights at the Holly Bush pub, performances by the Redbourn Players and plenty of activities and clubs for children.
10 Hertfordshire County Show
Last but certainly not least, Redbourn is host to the annual Hertfordshire County Show (this year on May 23-24). The event attracts thousands to The County Showground for displays of horse riding, circus skills, stunt riding, animal displays and hundreds of stalls selling everything from artisan produce to country clothing. hertsshow.com