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Harpenden is a town in the City and District of St Albans in the county of Hertfordshire, England. The town's population is just over 30,000. Harpenden is a commuter town, with a direct rail connection through Central London and property prices well over double the national average. Geographically it is located between (and a short distance from) two much larger neighbours: Luton town (to the north) and the city of St Albans (to the south). It is flanked by the villages of Redbourn (to the west) and Wheathampstead (to the east).
Harpenden has many shops commonly found in other English
towns, with three central supermarkets (Sainsbury's, Marks and Spencer and
Waitrose), multiple female clothes shops, charity shops, banks, estate agents
and chemists. A good proportion of these are run by independent
retailers. Cafes are also common in Harpenden, but with only
two commercial chains (Costa Coffee and Caffè Nero); the rest are owned
independently. There are multiple restaurants, mainly of Italian
origin, and many pubs. The Batford, Southdown, and Luton Road
districts also have their own shopping areas.
Parks and commons
A notable feature of Harpenden is its abundant parks and
commons. The central area of Harpenden, known locally as "the
village" is characterised by Church Green, Leyton Green and the High
Street Greens, which give the town its provincial feel.
Just to the south of the town centre is Harpenden Common,
stretching from the shops in the town centre for more than a mile to the south,
encompassing a total of 238 acres (96 ha). Today Harpenden Common hosts two
cricket clubs, Harpenden Cricket Club, a Hertfordshire Premier League club that
celebrated its 150 anniversary in 2013 and Bamville Cricket Club who play on
Sundays on the golf course, a football club, bridle ways for horse riding,
ramblers' paths and Harpenden Common Golf Club, all contained in an area of
natural beauty which was awarded a national Green Flag Award in 2007. Harpenden
Town Council is keen to help retain and maintain the environment and oversees
habitat issues including bird and bat watching, the maintenance/regeneration of
gorse, fungi and all the original wildlife (fauna and flora) for the benefit of
the people of Harpenden. Since 1894 Harpenden Common Golf Club has
traditionally maintained a large part of the common and today works closely
with Harpenden Town Council and Countryside management. This partnership has
enabled the people of Harpenden to take full advantage of the common for all
kinds of leisure activities, and the relationship of the golfers and others
users has been excellent for many years.
In addition the town has large green public spaces available
in Rothamsted Park, Batford Park, Kinsbourne Green, Lydekker Park and the Nicky
Line which bisects the town.