Ancient Monuments

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Sike Moss prehistoric cairnfield and two ring cairns 215m north east of Woodend Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Ulpha, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.3572 / 54°21'25"N

Longitude: -3.2635 / 3°15'48"W

OS Eastings: 317988.376197

OS Northings: 496475.744765

OS Grid: SD179964

Mapcode National: GBR 5LN1.8V

Mapcode Global: WH719.VR42

Entry Name: Sike Moss prehistoric cairnfield and two ring cairns 215m north east of Woodend Bridge

Scheduled Date: 18 September 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020199

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34964

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Ulpha

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Broughton-in-Furness St Mary Magdalene

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes Sike Moss prehistoric cairnfield and two ring cairns
215m north east of Woodend Bridge. It is located on Ulpha Fell east of the
Ulpha-Eskdale minor road, either side of a stream draining Sike Moss, and
represents Bronze Age exploitation of this landscape.
The cairnfield includes 15 circular and oval-shaped clearance cairns up to
0.35m high. The circular cairns measure between 1.9m and 4m in diameter while
the oval-shaped cairns measure between 4.4m and 6.3m long by 2.1m and 3m wide.
Close to the roadside are fragmentary remains of a curving wall which may have
formed part of a small enclosure. The larger of the two ring cairns is located
at approximately SD17949651 and measures 8.5m by 7.5m, its bank consisting of
a wall of weathered boulders one to two courses high. The smaller ring cairn
measures 7m by 5m and lies about 20m to the south. It consists of a flat
interior partly surrounded by a circle of stones.

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 occassion 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 (2000-700BC). 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. Cairnfields also retain information on the diversity of beliefs and
social organisation during the prehistoric period.
Ring cairns are prehistoric ritual monuments comprising a cicular bank of
stones surrounding a hollow central area. They often occur in pairs or small
groups and are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age
date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but
excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing
charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with
the burial rituals. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting
considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining
significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of protection.
Sike Moss prehistoric cairnfield and two ring cairns 215m north east of
Woodend Bridge, survives 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 H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue, (1983)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 74-85

Source: Historic England

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