Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system 350m west of The Knott

A Scheduled Monument in Waberthwaite, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.3447 / 54°20'41"N

Longitude: -3.3255 / 3°19'31"W

OS Eastings: 313933.320048

OS Northings: 495163.411947

OS Grid: SD139951

Mapcode National: GBR 5L66.V9

Mapcode Global: WH71G.W2M2

Entry Name: Prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system 350m west of The Knott

Scheduled Date: 24 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019431

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32865

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 prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system
located on a gently sloping area of fellside 350m west of the summit of The
Knott. It provides evidence for the prehistoric exploitation of this
landscape and includes 39 oval-shaped clearance cairns measuring between 2.8m
to 10.6m long by 2.1m to 6.3m wide and up to 0.7m high. The cairns are grouped
into four small clusters, three of which are similar in being relatively
large, prominent and well-defined, while the fourth group of cairns differs by
being small, low-lying and relatively ill-defined. Within the cairnfield there
is a small field or plot with boundaries defined by cairn alignments. The land
within this field is predominantly stone-free, flat and well-drained and it is
interpreted as a prehistoric field which was deliberately cleared of stone in
order to render the ground usuable for agricultural cultivation or stock
enclosure. Elsewhere some of the cairns at the northern and towards the
southern end of the cairnfield form 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.

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 350m
west of The Knott survives 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, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1988)
Quartermaine, J, Stainton Fell Survey Catalogue, (1988)
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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