Hobs Moat

. . . but looking well thereabouts, and making diligent enquiry of the inhabitants, I found a large Moat,. . . . . . . .  . . whereon they say a Castle long since was situate .

Some of the neighbourhood do call this Hoggs moat . . .

                                    - Sir William Dugdale, 1656   

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The conservation effort...

                                                                                    A confection of video images and traditional photographs shows the problems facing the conservers of Hobs Moat: the scale of the earthwork, the dominance of the trees, the ubiquitous erosion, the simple methods to hand and the materials.


Paths were laid around the monument to encourage people away from walking on the site itself, and top-soil was imported to re-cover the eroded banks. This amounted to around 2,000 tons. It was conveyed by hand onto the scheduled area, to avoid further damage to the earthwork.

To retain the soil, boarding was installed around the ramparts, the soil was covered initially with turf or seeded with grass. The intention was that a more-suitable vegetation would establish itself in the new layer and, in turn, robust larger ground cover would appear. Movement on the site would then become progressively lessened.

Outside the scheduled area to the east of the outer bank, a path was constructed. Paths had developed on the banks themselves and this had contributed considerably to erosion. The new path lessened awareness of the main earthwork entrance which was close by. The path was extended around the monument to the north and south, to the playing field and allotments beyond

Half the project’s workforce, 33 employees, mostly part-time, were engaged in the conservation programme at any one time in the three years it operated.

And the outcome? Thirty years have passed. Remarkably, the earthwork is everywhere now covered by bushes and low  shrubbery. People visit the site when they wish to do so, but respect it. Their movement on the scheduled area has indeed been much lessened by the measures.

The community project was a success, to which all of its participants, on both the archaeology and conservation teams, contributed.

Hobs Moat as you’re more likely to see it today:

the south-eastern internal rampart and fronting ditch.

Preserved for the future.