What is it?
Imposing linear earthwork dating from pre-historic and Romano-British times located to the north of Stratford on Avon.
Landranger Map 139
Explorer Map 220
SP 13272 68470, SP 13524 68600, SP 13804 68772, SP 14014 68980
Sat Nav - Nearby postcode – B95 5RB
Parking - Parking on road side layby adjacent to the site on Blunts Green Lane, off Tanworth Lane.
Public transport – The nearest railway station is Danzey approximately 2km to the north. Buses from Birmingham, Solihull and Stratford stop on the A3400 Liveridge Hill north of Henley in Arden, at the junction with Tanworth Lane, approximately 2km to the south east.
For bus and train details see http://www.networkwestmidlands.com/
Access – Much of the site is in on private farmland and whilst it is not possible to walk along the actual monument it is visible from various locations. A public footpath runs parallel to a short stretch of the site to the east of Tanworth Lane. From Danzey Station it is a 2km walk which can be done mainly on footpaths off Pig Trot Lane or along Tanworth Lane (see OS maps). If following the footpath from Danzey it is necessary to cross the railway line and there are likely to be animals in the fields. There are no facilities near the site. There is a public house in Tanworth in Arden 1.5km north of Danzey Station or more options to the south near the bus stop on Liveridge Hill or in Henley.
There are no facilities at Danzey station which is a request stop.
What you can see
The Hobditch is the most visible section of a series of linear earthworks, banks and ditches, first identified in the 1960s in the area north of Henley in Arden crossing the valley of the River Alne. They do not form a continuous feature in the landscape, having been damaged by farming in the past and their precise date and purpose has never been fully established. There have been many excavations over the years but they still remain something of a mystery. The most likely explanation is that they form part of a complex and extensive prehistoric and Romano-British defence system or boundaries demarking the territories of different groups of people, within the Forest of Arden. It is also suggested that they continued to be of significance as a boundary throughout the medieval period.
There are three points from which views to the site are possible – 1, 2 & 3. Visibility through roadside hedges is possible depending on the season.
Take the public footpath off Tanworth Lane to the east of the parking area next to a five bar gate. Before crossing the stile there is a good view of the earthwork looking over the fence to the left.
The footpath continues through woodland running parallel to the site until you reach a stile and a footbridge over a stream. From here you come into an open space from where you can look back across the earthwork, a raised bank with a wide ditch. Excavations here in the late 1960s identified 3 ditches and 2 banks. Ahead of you is a pond, in one of the ditches.
Continue on the footpath through another area of woodland running parallel to the ditch. Eventually you reach a bridge and cross the River Alne.
The earthwork continues along the field boundary on the left but the footpath from here veers to the east.
Retrace your steps back to Tanworth Lane and cross the road. Looking back note how the ditch of the earthwork, lined with trees, forms the boundary of the gardens of the houses in Rivermead.
You can also see the earthwork from here in fields running parallel with Blunts Green Lane.
From Tanworth Lane walk back along Blunts Green Lane, which runs parallel to the Hob Ditch. You may get glimpses of the earthwork through the hedge depending on the time of year.
At the gate into the field opposite Four Acres you get the best view of the site.
A long and straight bank which when first discovered was assumed to be a Roman Road.
To the west of the railway bridge over Blunts Green Lane at Deans Green is another gateway that affords a view across the earthwork which was cut by the construction of the railway line in the 19th century.
If you continue along the road then follow the footpath around the track to the right and into the field beyond you can see the ditch of the monument continuing along the field boundary to the south in adjacent woodland.
If approaching from Danzey station along footpaths this is the field you enter after crossing the railway line and the corner of a paddock. The ditch is at the bottom of the hill running just outside the field boundary.
The site is a scheduled monument which means it is protected by law.
This means metal detecting and unauthorised digging at the site is not allowed.
The walk from Danzey crosses farmland and passes The Mill House, a 17th century mill house with a later 19th century mill attached.
The mill wheel is still visible through the undergrowth.
Nearby Tanworth in Arden is an attractive village with a public house and medieval church overlooking a village green and contains many interesting listed houses.
Henley in Arden to the south has many places to eat and public toilets.
Find out more:
- Hutty, Brian `Hob Ditch causeway: linear earthworks in the Forest of Arden' Trans Birmingham Warwickshire Archaeol Soc 85 (1973)
- Cracknell S and Hingley R ‘Hobditch linear earthworks: Survey and excavation 1987, Transactions of Birmingham Warwickshire Archaeological Society 99 (1995)