Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairnfield 320m north of Saltersitch Bridge, Eastern Moors

A Scheduled Monument in Holmesfield, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.3003 / 53°18'1"N

Longitude: -1.5684 / 1°34'6"W

OS Eastings: 428861.303641

OS Northings: 378241.451209

OS Grid: SK288782

Mapcode National: GBR KZH8.7M

Mapcode Global: WHCCW.W9BQ

Entry Name: Cairnfield 320m north of Saltersitch Bridge, Eastern Moors

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1999

Last Amended: 11 June 2019

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017111

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31259

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Holmesfield

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Dronfield St John Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes a group of at least 12 cairns forming a compact
cairnfield, interpreted as evidence for prehistoric land clearance for
settlement and agriculture. It occupies a relatively well-drained location
standing on a bluff of moorland directly overlooking a brook, the Salter
The cairnfield is composed of between 12 and 14 individual cairns, ranging
from approximately 1.5m to 3.5m in diameter. Some of the cairns are slightly
ovoid in shape indicating that they may once have formed part of a linear
field bank. Many of the cairns appear to be undisturbed, while other cairns
have been damaged by hollow ways which cross the moorland or by stone robbing.
Stone scatters exposed by heather burning indicate that the cairnfield was
probably once more extensive.
Although the cairnfield appears isolated, there are more extensive Bronze Age
settlement remains to the south west which are the subject of separate

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 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.3,400 BC)
although the majority date from the Bronze Age (2,000-700 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.

The cairnfield, 320m north of Saltersitch Bridge contains many well preserved
cairns where buried information is likely to survive intact. As such, it is
important to our understanding of prehistoric agriculture and settlement on
the gritstone moors of the Peak District.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 41-2
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986), 41-2

Source: Historic England

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