Ancient Monuments

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Rough Crag prehistoric cairnfield, funerary cairn and a linear boundary 1000m ENE of Woodend Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Ulpha, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.3585 / 54°21'30"N

Longitude: -3.2511 / 3°15'3"W

OS Eastings: 318794.491234

OS Northings: 496607.286666

OS Grid: SD187966

Mapcode National: GBR 5LQ1.YC

Mapcode Global: WH71B.1Q42

Entry Name: Rough Crag prehistoric cairnfield, funerary cairn and a linear boundary 1000m ENE of Woodend Bridge

Scheduled Date: 22 October 1971

Last Amended: 18 September 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020203

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34968

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 Rough Crag prehistoric cairnfield, funerary cairn
and a linear boundary 1000m ENE of Woodend Bridge. It is located on sloping
ground on the south east and east sides of Rough Crag and represents Bronze
Age exploitation of this landscape.
The cairnfield includes over 50 circular and oval-shaped clearance cairns up
to 0.5m high. The circular cairns measure between 1.5m and 5.7m in diameter
while the oval-shaped cairns measure between 3.2m and 6.2m long by 2m and 4.3m
wide. Six of these cairns form an alignment marking the north east edge of the
cairnfield. Running through the cairnfield on a north east-south west
alignment is a linear boundary consisting of the lower courses of two stone
walls, both of which are aligned on a large funerary cairn. The eastern length
of wall is approximately 135m long with a gap suggesting a gateway or entrance
at its mid-point, while the western length of wall runs downhill from the
funerary cairn for approximately 265m and is aligned upon a prominent funerary
cairn about 1.1km to the south west. This western length of wall also has a
gateway or entrance situated about two thirds of the way down its length from
the funerary cairn. These walls are interpreted as part of a major prehistoric
boundary, seemingly between Dunnerdale to the south and the plateau between
Barnscar and Birkerthwaite to the north. This boundary lies less than 300m
south of the current boundary between Ulpha and Birker Fells, itself a parish
and land boundary of considerable antiquity. The funerary cairn is located at
SD18809661 and is the largest cairn in the cairnfield. It consists of an
oval-shaped mound of stones measuring 12.9m by 9.9m and up to 1m high which is
surrounded by a kerb of boulders. A small modern cairn has been constructed on
the prehistoric cairn's summit.

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 land surface to improve its use for agriculture,
and on occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field
plots. They were constructed from the Neolithic period (from about 3400BC)
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.
Rough Crag prehistoric cairnfield, funerary cairn and linear boundary
1000m ENE of Woodend Bridge, 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 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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