A valence band in narrow HgTe quantum wells contains well-conductive Dirac-like light holes at the Γ point and a poorly conductive heavy hole subband located in the local valleys. Here we propose and employ two methods to measure the density of states for these heavy holes. The first method uses a gate-recharging technique to measure thermodynamical entropy per particle. As the Fermi level is tuned with gate voltage from a light to heavy subband, the entropy increases dramatically, and the value of this increase gives an estimate for the density of states. The second method determines the density of states for heavy holes indirectly from the gate voltage dependence of the period of the Shubnikov-de Haas oscillations for light holes. The results obtained by both methods are in reasonable agreement with each other. Our approaches can be applied to measure large effective carrier masses in other two-dimensional gated systems.