Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric cairnfield and two associated hut circles on Corney Fell, 860m north of Buckbarrow Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Waberthwaite, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.3092 / 54°18'33"N

Longitude: -3.3341 / 3°20'2"W

OS Eastings: 313295.786262

OS Northings: 491222.938913

OS Grid: SD132912

Mapcode National: GBR 5L4M.Z1

Mapcode Global: WH71G.RYJC

Entry Name: Prehistoric cairnfield and two associated hut circles on Corney Fell, 860m north of Buckbarrow Bridge

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017181

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32841

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Waberthwaite

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Corney St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes a prehistoric cairnfield and two associated hut circles
located on the west facing slopes of Corney Fell, 860m north of Buckbarrow
Bridge. It represents evidence for the prehistoric exploitation of this
landscape and includes a short length of stone bank and about 40 round and
oval shaped clearance cairns up to 0.6m high, the round cairns measuring
between 1.5m to 6.2m in diameter, the oval shaped cairns measuring between
2.8m to 6.7m long by 2m to 5.1m wide. The majority of the cairns occupy a
small natural terrace on the hillside overlooking the remainder of the cairns
within this cairnfield. On the northern edge of this terrace, at SD13369127,
there is a hut circle measuring approximately 11m by 7m with a small three
sided enclosure attached to its northern side. On the hillslope immediately
below the terrace lie the remainder of the cairns, including an alignment of
five interpreted as representing the line of an old boundary in which sporadic
patches of stone were piled against a fence or hedge. At SD13259114, at the
southern edge of this group of cairns, there are the ill defined remains of a
hut circle situated against a prominent curved stone bank which, with faint
traces of other banks, may have originally formed a small enclosure.

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

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 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.
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 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 and two associated hut circles on Corney Fell, 860m
north of Buckbarrow Bridge survive reasonably well and form part of a 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 the monument represents evidence of long term management and
exploitation of this area in prehistoric times.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 20-6
Quartermaine, J, Charlesground Gill Survey Catalogue, (1985)
Quartermaine, J, Charlesground Gill Survey Catalogue, (1985)
Quartermaine, J, Charlesground Gill Survey Catalogue, (1985)

Source: Historic England

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