Ancient Monuments

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Cairnfield and barrow on Rabbit Warren, 900m south east of Park Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Beeley, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.2148 / 53°12'53"N

Longitude: -1.58 / 1°34'48"W

OS Eastings: 428142.485904

OS Northings: 368718.006615

OS Grid: SK281687

Mapcode National: GBR 57X.HCC

Mapcode Global: WHCD8.PGTB

Entry Name: Cairnfield and barrow on Rabbit Warren, 900m south east of Park Farm

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016418

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31243

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Beeley

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Beeley St Anne

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes a prehistoric cairnfield and an adjacent burial cairn
or barrow. The cairnfield was created as the result of land clearance for
agriculture during the Bronze Age.
The site occupies a well-drained ridge of moorland on the East Moors of
Derbyshire. There are between 31 and 34 cairns of various sizes, the majority
ranging between 2m and 4m in diameter, although there are one or two larger
examples of up to 5.5m in diameter. Many of the cairns are circular, but
others are elongated where they may have been associated with previous field
boundaries. The cairns were constructed from cleared stones gathered from the
surrounding area. Although one or two of the cairns show slight disturbances,
the majority are complete examples. Also associated with land clearance are
slight traces of lynchets and probable field banks of stone and turf. These
indicate that the area was likely to have been divided into field plots,
created by debris thrown against fences or hedges erected as field boundaries.
At the north western end of the cairnfield stands the remains of a burial
cairn or barrow. The cairn measures approximately 9.5m in diameter and stands
about 0.5m high. Its centre has been robbed of some of its stones, probably
for post-medieval wall building. The integrity of the remains indicates that
buried archaeological features, including human burial remains, may survive
below ground. The cairn is probably Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age in date
and may date from the earlier phases of settlement on these moorlands.
Contained within the area of protection, and passing through the cairnfield,
are several hollow ways, in part used as walkers' footpaths.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 3 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The East Moors in Derbyshire includes all the gritstone moors east of the
River Derwent. It covers an area of 105 sq km, of which around 63% is open
moorland and 37% is enclosed. As a result of recent and on-going
archaeological survey, the East Moors area is becoming one of the best
recorded upland areas in England. On the enclosed land the archaeological
remains are fragmentary, but survive sufficiently well to show that early
human activity extended beyond the confines of the open moors.
On the open moors there is significant and well-articulated evidence over
extensive areas for human exploitation of the gritstone uplands from the
Neolithic to the post-medieval periods. Bronze Age activity accounts for the
most intensive use of the moorlands. Evidence for it includes some of the
largest and best preserved field systems and cairnfields in northern England
as well settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other
ceremonial remains which, together, provide a detailed insight into life in
the Bronze Age. Also of importance is the well preserved and often visible
relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods since this
provides an insight into successive changes in land use through time.
A large number of the prehistoric sites on the moors, because of their rarity
in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections,
will be identified as nationally important.

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 land surface to improve its use for agriculture
and on occasions their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots.
Occasionally some of the cairns were used for funerary purposes, although
without excavation it is difficult to determine which cairns contain burials.
Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC),
although the majority date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). Cairnfields can
also retain information concerning the development of land use and
agricultural practices as well as the diversity of beliefs and social
organisation during the prehistoric period.
Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments chiefly dating to the Bronze
Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single
or multiple burials. The burials may be placed within the mound in
stone-lined compartments called cists. In some cases, cairns occupy prominent
locations and are a major visual element in the modern landscape. They are the
stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their
considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide
important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation
amongst prehistoric communities.
The monument 900m south east of Park Farm is especially important as an
example of well-preserved agricultural clearance measures surviving together
with an associated and contemporary funerary structure. Further significant
information on the original use and inter-relationships of the remains will be

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 113-114
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 113
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986)

Source: Historic England

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