Hob Hurst’s House is a one-of-a-kind bronze-age barrow within the vicinity of Bakewell, sat at the highest point of Beeley Moor, unique in its unusual rectangular layout. The mound itself is 4-feet high and has a diameter of 11 yards, surrounded by an impressive earthwork ditch and external bank; only 5 of the original 13 stones that made up the barrow remain today. One of many Neolithic burial sites found around Bakewell, this barrow is the namesake of local folklore figure, Hob Hurst, a hobgoblin who is said to haunt the barrow and nearby woodlands. Exploring Hob Hurst’s House and other surrounding mounds makes for a great short walk; Hob Hurst’s House can also be visited as part of the larger Peak District Boundary Walk.
Roughly 3,000 years old, Hob’s Hurst House was originally constructed by local families as a symbolic burial site, as was custom during the Bronze Age. In 1853, the mound was excavated by famed barrow-digger and antiquarian, Thomas Bateman, who found a stone chamber containing two lots of human remains; one lot was held neatly in a stone cist, the other was found discarded towards the eastern side of the chamber, containing mostly burnt bones. The latter suggests Hob’s House was also the site of cremation practices, indicating the diverse range of burial rituals carried out by prehistoric Middle England inhabitants. The chamber excavated by Bateman remains unsealed and can be identified when visiting the site today. Only southern part of Hob Hurst’s House was excavated, so the rest of the mound appears the way it would have since its original construction.
Hob Hurst’s House was one of the first historic sites to be state protected, and was included in the Ancient Monuments Protection Act of 1882; this guardianship was symbolised by the erection of the stone bollards which now encircle the mound, engraved with the initials ‘VR’ which stands for ‘Victoria Regina’ or Queen Victoria. It is currently looked after by English Heritage.
How to get there
Located near to the village of Beeley, the best way to reach Hob Hurst’s House is via Chesterfield Road, off the B6012 at Beeley, which heads east. After roughly a mile and a half, past the Beeley and Hellbank Plantation, the road makes a sharp turn right, and from this point you should be able to see an open moorland – which is a suitable area for vehicles to park. On foot, there is unmetalled path which takes you to the Beeley Warren Moor gate; from there, the path towards Hob Hurst – all uphill – is clearly signposted.
Alternatively, for those feeling much more ambitious, Hob Hurst’s House can be visited as part of the 190-mile walking trail, the Peak District Boundary Walk. Normally completed over 20 days, consisting of roughly 10-miles per day, the walk passes by Hob Hurst’s House on the 11th stretch of the hike, which walks between Millthorpe to Beeley.
Good to Know
-It can be difficult to make out the entire barrow during the summer months due to the thick carpet of bracken that covers the mound at this time of year.
-The path towards Hob Hurst’s House, as aforementioned, is all uphill, and requires climbing over several gate stiles. The path is also unmetalled and can be particularly muddy and difficult to walk through on rainy days – appropriate footwear is advisable.
-Animals graze in the surrounding fields, so it would be a good idea to keep dogs on leads.
Things to See & Do While at Hob Hurst’s House
-Take in the spectacular panoramic views of Stanton Moor and the River Derwent offered by the summit of Beeley Moor.
-The Nine Ladies Stone Circle is another Bronze Age site worth visiting within the locality, 5 miles away from Hob Hurst’s House. The site, which is located on Stanton Moor, features nine millstone grit stones stood upright, which were also included in the Ancient Monuments Protection Act of 1882. Today, the location is a popular pagan ritual site.
-The village of Beeley is a great location for a respite after exploring Hob Hurst’s House and neighbouring moors. Amongst the mellow stone-built houses and lanes visitors will stumble upon a number of attractive cafes and bars, including the Old Smithy Café, Gallery and Bistro.