The name may refer to the Iron Age hill fort just to the north of the village. The fort, perched on the edge of the Cotswold escarpment, is enclosed on three sides by two parallel earthworks, and is open to the west, commanding an impressive view of the Severn Vale and the Welsh mountains. The earth walls enclose an area of eleven acres, and are usually kept mown by the local farmer (the fort is in private hands, but accessible). The fort can be reached by footpath from the A46 road, and from below via the Cotswold Way. Below the fort are a group of ancient pillow mounds which are supposed to have been created by people who hoped rabbits would develop warrens here - providing a source of meat.
The Romans strengthened the fort for use as a camp to support their western frontier. In AD 577 the Saxon army used the fort as a camp before the battle of Dyrham, a few miles to the south. King Edward IV camped here in 1471 before attacking the army of Margaret of Anjou at the Battle of Tewkesbury.
It has two primary schools (Old Sodbury CE Primary School, and the privately run Overndale School), a church (the 900-year-old Church of Saint John the Baptist), a hotel, and a pub, The Dog Inn. The village also has a post office (which also acts as the local shop), a petrol station, a football pitch and a playground. The east of the village lies on the Cotswold Edge and is on the Cotswold Way.
Inside the Church of Saint John the Baptist are two effigies of knights. One is 14th century, carved in wood, and the other is 13th century, carved in stone, and featuring a very large shield. These two are considered to have been lords of the local manor.
In the churchyard at Old Sodbury are a number of old bale-tombs; these were tombs for rich merchants. Some of the gravestones date back to the early 19th century. Just outside the churchyard on the hillside is a topograph, a large stone with an engraving that shows Old Sodbury in relation to its geographical surroundings.
There is a crenellated tower on the hillside above the village, visible from the main road, that performs the function of a ventilation shaft for the Chipping Sodbury Tunnel, on the main line from South Wales, via Bristol Parkway to London Paddington). This shaft was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the Great Western Railway, which runs through the village and under the hill above it. The nearest station is Yate.
The village lies on an old coaching route, and is older than its nearby neighbour, Chipping Sodbury and hence the name 'Old' Sodbury.