The River Hiz // is a small (10 miles (16 km)) tributary river in Hertfordshire that feeds the River Ivel that, in turn, feeds the River Great Ouse. Starting at its source of a chalk fed spring just south of the village of Charlton, the river winds its way through the county of Hertfordshire, moving its way into and through Hitchin, where it meets the River Oughton and River Purwell. The Hiz finally meets the River Ivel near the village of Henlow.
The Hicca Way, inaugurated in 2012, is a footpath which follows the course of the river.
Although small, the Hiz attracts a great deal of wildlife. There are many birds around this area, which include swans, ducks, coot and kingfishers. Fish inhabits the river (trout mainly) and there is also evidence for otters.
The z in Hiz is a Domesday-Book abbreviation for ts (or tch), and Hiz is properly pronounced "Hitch". This fact seems to be little known, and Hiz is now normally said as it is spelled. It may take its name from the Hicce tribe, who inhabited the area and gave their name to Hitchin. Ekwall says that Hiz/Hitch is a probably back-formation from Hitchin, which in turn is the dative plural of Hicce.
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- Johnston, James B., The Place-Names of England and Wales, London, 1915, p. 305
- J. Norden (1598). Description of Hertfordshire.
- Eilert Ekwall (1928). English River Names. OUP. pp. 197–198.
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