Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system on Stainton Fell, 330m south of The Knott

A Scheduled Monument in Waberthwaite, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.3421 / 54°20'31"N

Longitude: -3.3213 / 3°19'16"W

OS Eastings: 314199.392449

OS Northings: 494870.227982

OS Grid: SD141948

Mapcode National: GBR 5L77.R7

Mapcode Global: WH71G.Y4M2

Entry Name: Prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system on Stainton Fell, 330m south of The Knott

Scheduled Date: 24 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019430

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32864

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Waberthwaite

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Muncaster St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes a small prehistoric cairnfield and associated field
system located on a moderately sloped area of undulating moorland on Stainton
Fell 330m south of The Knott. It provides evidence for the prehistoric
exploitation of this landscape and includes a short length of stone wall and
16 oval-shaped clearance cairns measuring between 2.2m to 6m long by 1.8m to
4.9m wide and up to 0.6m high. Some of the cairns form two alignments oriented
downslope which are interpreted as representing the lines of old field
boundaries in which sporadic patches of stone clearance were piled against a
hedge or fence. This field is approximately 25m-30m wide and its eastern
boundary may have been formed by a short length of stone bank upslope of the
cairn alignments.

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.

The prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system on Stainton Fell 330m
south of The Knott survives reasonably well and forms 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 provides 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), 51-8
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1988)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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