Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairnfield 775m NNE of High Lees Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Bamford, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.3563 / 53°21'22"N

Longitude: -1.6718 / 1°40'18"W

OS Eastings: 421940.005754

OS Northings: 384431.577034

OS Grid: SK219844

Mapcode National: GBR JYRM.VK

Mapcode Global: WHCCG.9W4V

Entry Name: Cairnfield 775m NNE of High Lees Farm

Scheduled Date: 29 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018093

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29841

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Bamford

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Bamford and Derwent St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes the remains of a prehistoric cairnfield, dated to the
Bronze Age. The cairnfield occupies a ridge of land with views to both the
east and west. It is interpreted as the remains of clearance for prehistoric
agriculture and settlement.
The cairnfield consists of a generally stone-free area within which are
approximately 14 small cairns composed of relatively small stones and
ranging between 1.5m and 4m in diameter. Most of the cairns stand to a height
of approximately 0.2m to 0.35m. The evidence for stone clearance indicates
that the site was used for cultivation during the Bronze Age settlement of
Bamford Moor. In addition to the small clearance cairns, one cairn on the
extreme east of the cairnfield, and standing slightly apart from the rest of
the cairns, is larger, indicating that it may have been used for funerary
purposes. The latter cairn overlooks a small stone circle to the north east.
Most of the cairns appear to survive undisturbed. The cairnfield also extends
beyond the area of protection to the north west where packhorse routes and
hollow ways have disturbed the prehistoric remains.
All modern fences, gates and walls are excluded from the scheduling, although
the ground beneath is included.

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 in close proximity to one another.
They often consist largely of clearance debris from the surrounding
landsurface to improve its use for agriculture. Often their distribution
pattern can be seen to define field plots, especially when associated with
linear clearance banks. Most 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.
The cairnfield 775m NNE of High Lees Farm survives well and is important to
our understanding of prehistoric agricultural practices.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986), 25-7

Source: Historic England

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