Ancient Monuments

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Pike How prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system 320m south west of High Ground

A Scheduled Monument in Eskdale, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.3686 / 54°22'7"N

Longitude: -3.2799 / 3°16'47"W

OS Eastings: 316943.591953

OS Northings: 497767.634529

OS Grid: SD169977

Mapcode National: GBR 5KJX.QQ

Mapcode Global: WH719.LGC9

Entry Name: Pike How prehistoric cairnfield and associated field system 320m south west of High Ground

Scheduled Date: 24 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019554

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32881

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Eskdale

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Eskdale St Catherine

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes Pike How prehistoric cairnfield and associated field
system 320m south west of High Ground. It is located along the southern slopes
of Pike How and extends both east and west of the Ulpha-Eskdale minor road,
and north and south of the access road to High Ground and Birkerthwaite. The
monument represents Bronze Age exploitation of this landscape and is
sub-divided into three separate areas of protection.
The prehistoric cairnfield is centered at approximately SD16959775 and
consists of over 160 circular and oval-shaped clearance cairns measuring up to
0.8m high. The circular cairns measure between 1.9m to 6.75m in diameter while
the oval-shaped cairns measure between 3.2m to 10.1m long by 1.8m to 7.9m
wide. A field system associated with the cairnfield consists of a curvilinear
enclosure sub-divided by traces of a central stone bank situated to the west
of the Ulpha-Eskdale road at approximately SD17019775. The walls of the
enclosure are discontinuous and it may have been damaged by construction of
the road. On the east side of the Ulpha-Eskdale road a 70m length of stone
bank or wall may originally have formed part of this enclosure. However, a
broad cairn-free area immediately south of this wall suggests it originally
functioned as a field boundary. Two other short lengths of stone wall are
located towards the north west and north east sides of the cairnfield.
Elsewhere within the cairnfield a number of other cairn-free areas may
indicate the site of former fields.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

Despite being crossed by modern roads, Pike How prehistoric cairnfield and
associated field system 320m south west of High Ground survives reasonably
well and forms part of a large area of 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
Leech, R, Birkby Fell Survey Catalogue, (1982)
Leech, R, Birkby Fell Survey Catalogue, (1982)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 60-73
Leech, R, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Settlement And Groups Of Small Cairns On Birkby And Birker Fells, , Vol. LXXXIII, (1983), 15-23

Source: Historic England

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