Ring cairn on Knipescar Common south of Inscar Plantation


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1007364

Date first listed: 31-Jul-1995


Ordnance survey map of Ring cairn on Knipescar Common south of Inscar Plantation
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Bampton

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: NY 53221 18923


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by fieldwork and ground level survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries. Ring cairns 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. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

Despite some surface disturbance to the monument's interior, the ring cairn on Knipescar Common south of Inscar Plantation survives reasonably well. It will retain undisturbed archaeological deposits within the enclosure bank and interior which together will facilitate a greater understanding of the nature of the rituals undertaken at such sites.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument is a ring cairn located on a limestone shelf on Knipescar Common 20m south of the western corner of Inscar Plantation. It includes a ring bank of largely turf-covered limestone rubble up to 2.5m wide and 1.3m high on the downsloping south easterly side and 0.6m high elsewhere. The ring bank encloses an undulating oval internal area measuring c.13m by 9m that is raised up to 0.3m above the old landsurface.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 22535

Legacy System: RSM


Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Ring Cairns, (1989)

End of official listing