Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairnfield on Swindon Hill, 800m west of Hepple Whitefield Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Hepple, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.2893 / 55°17'21"N

Longitude: -2.0339 / 2°2'1"W

OS Eastings: 397947.43

OS Northings: 599469.790322

OS Grid: NY979994

Mapcode National: GBR G778.GQ

Mapcode Global: WHB0V.Q9PY

Entry Name: Cairnfield on Swindon Hill, 800m west of Hepple Whitefield Farm

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1932

Last Amended: 10 February 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008874

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20905

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Hepple

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Upper Coquetdale

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a group of at least thirty field clearance cairns and
several funerary cairns situated on the flat pass between Witchy Neuk
hillfort and Swindon Hill. The cairns are heather-covered mounds ranging in
size from 3m to 6m in diameter and with the largest up to 1m in height. There
are no visible traces of retaining circles of stone. Some of the mounds were
opened earlier this century by James Brook of Hepple but no records of this
work survive.
The cairnfield represents a period of clearance for agricultural purposes.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one
another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone
cleared from the surrounding landsurface to improve its use for agriculture,
and on occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots.
However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without
excavation it may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials.
Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC),
although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance
which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze
Age (2000-700 BC). The considerable longevity and variation in the size,
content and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the
development of land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the
prehistoric period.

The cairnfield on Swindon Hill survives in a good state of preservation.
Evidence relating to the nature of Bronze Age agriculture will be preserved
within and beneath the clearance cairns. Important environmental evidence
will also be preserved on the old land surface beneath and in between the

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Dixon, D D, Upper Coquetdale, (1903)
No. 2220,

Source: Historic England

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