Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric cairnfield on Stainton Fell, 660m north of Rowantree Force

A Scheduled Monument in Waberthwaite, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.3379 / 54°20'16"N

Longitude: -3.3173 / 3°19'2"W

OS Eastings: 314451.280829

OS Northings: 494395.60254

OS Grid: SD144943

Mapcode National: GBR 5L88.MR

Mapcode Global: WH71H.07M9

Entry Name: Prehistoric cairnfield on Stainton Fell, 660m north of Rowantree Force

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016985

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32827

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Waberthwaite

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Millom

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes a small prehistoric cairnfield located on the south
western slope and summit of a small hillock on enclosed moorland, on the
western slope of Stainton Fell, 660m north of Rowantree Force. The cairnfield
represents prehistoric exploitation of this landscape and includes a group of
16 oval-shaped clearance cairns measuring between 2.2m-4.6m long by 1.5m-3.6m
wide and up to 0.4m high, together with two short lengths of stone bank 10m
and 25m in length.
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Cumbrian uplands comprise large areas of remote mountainous terrain, much
of which is largely open fellside. As a result of archaeological surveys
between 1980 and 1990 within the Lake District National Park, these fells have
become one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the open fells
there is sufficient well preserved and understood evidence over extensive
areas for human exploitation of these uplands from the Neolithic to the post-
medieval period. On the enclosed land and within forestry the archaeological
remains are fragmentary, but they survive sufficiently well to show that human
activity extended beyond the confines of the open fells. Bronze Age activity
accounts for the most extensive use of the area, and evidence for it includes
some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairn fields in
England, as well as settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles
and other ceremonial remains. Taken together, their remains can provide a
detailed insight into life in the later prehistoric period. Of additional
importance is the well-preserved and often visible relationship between the
remains of earlier and later periods, since this provides an understanding of
changes in land use through time. Because of their rarity in a national
context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, most
prehistoric monuments on the Lake District fells will be identified as
nationally important.

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one
another. They often consists largely of clearance cairns, built with stone
from the surrounding landsurface to improve its use for agriculture, and on
occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots. They
were constructed from the Neolithic period (from about 3400 BC), although the
majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance which began
during the 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 prehistoric cairnfield on Stainton Fell, 660m north of Rowantree Force
survives well and forms part of a large area of well-preserved prehistoric
landscape extending along the fellsides of south west Cumbria. In conjunction
with a wide range of other prehistoric remains in the vicinity it represents
evidence of long term management and exploitation of this area in prehistoric

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1984)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 51-8

Source: Historic England

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