Prehistoric enclosure containing ten clearance cairns south west of Boat How, Burnmoor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008537

Date first listed: 21-Jul-1994


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric enclosure containing ten clearance cairns south west of Boat How, Burnmoor
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Copeland (District Authority)

Parish: Eskdale

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: NY 17628 03302


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

Reasons for Designation

Within the upland landscape of Cumbria there are many discrete plots of land enclosed by stone walls or banks of stone and earth, most of which date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC), though earlier and later examples also exist. They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to accommodate stock and hut circle dwellings for farmers and herdsmen. The size and form of enclosures may therefore vary depending upon their particular function. Their variation in form, longevity and relationship to other monument classes provide important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone from the surrounding land surface to improve its use for agriculture, and on occasion their distribution can be seen to define field plots. However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without excavation it may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials. Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400BC), although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). The considerable longevity and variation in 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. The prehistoric enclosure and cairnfield south west of Boat How survives reasonably well and is a good example of this class of monument. This monument contains a developed type of cairnfield; that is one where the land has been subjected to initial land clearance then utilised further, in this case by the construction of an enclosure. It contrasts markedly with the primary type of cairnfield found elsewhere on Burnmoor and illustrates well the differing prehistoric land management strategies. This monument lies close to other prehistoric monuments on Burnmoor and indicates the importance of this area in prehistoric times.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric enclosure containing ten clearance cairns. It is located on a relatively flat area of open fellside to the south west of Boat How, and lies within a large area of open moorland known as Burnmoor which contains an abundance of prehistoric remains. The enclosure has a boundary on its north and east sides formed by a wall or stone bank measuring up to 4.7m wide and 0.4m high and fragmented into six separate lengths. There is an entrance on the eastern side leading into an enclosed area of approximately 0.75ha. In the western side of the enclosure there are ten clearance cairns ranging between 2.15m - 3.85m in diameter and 0.1m - 0.3m in height.

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: 23698

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 12-13
Leech, R H, The Lake District National Park Survey - Burnmoor, (1992), 12-13

End of official listing