Ancient Monuments

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Brown Rigg prehistoric cairnfield and a funerary cairn 400m south east of Woodend Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Ulpha, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.3531 / 54°21'11"N

Longitude: -3.2608 / 3°15'38"W

OS Eastings: 318154.787797

OS Northings: 496014.588454

OS Grid: SD181960

Mapcode National: GBR 5LN3.V9

Mapcode Global: WH719.WVF7

Entry Name: Brown Rigg prehistoric cairnfield and a funerary cairn 400m south east of Woodend Bridge

Scheduled Date: 18 September 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020201

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34966

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 Brown Rigg prehistoric cairnfield and a funerary
cairn 400m south east of Woodend Bridge. It is located on a low promentory on
unenclosed land on Ulpha Fell, west of the Ulpha-Eskdale minor road, and
represents Bronze Age exploitation of this landscape.
The cairnfield includes 13 circular and oval-shaped clearance cairns up to
0.3m high. Five of these cairns form an alignment marking the southern edge of
the cairnfield. The funerary cairn is located at SD18129606 and is the largest
cairn in the cairnfield. It measures 10.2m east-west by 9.2m north-south is up
to 0.5m high, and is surrounded by a kerb of boulders. A small modern shelter
has been constructed out of the cairn material on its south east side.
The western end of a prehistoric linear boundary on Rough Crag terminates
about 1.1km north east of the funerary cairn; this boundary appears to be
aligned on the funerary cairn.

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.
Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age. They
were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. These
burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called
cists. Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element
in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as
a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and
social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities.
Brown Rigg prehistoric cairnfield and funerary cairn 400m south 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
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 74-85
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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