Cairnfield on Swindon Hill, 800m west of Hepple Whitefield Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008874

Date first listed: 26-Nov-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Feb-1993


Ordnance survey map of Cairnfield on Swindon Hill, 800m west of Hepple Whitefield Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Hepple


National Grid Reference: NY 97950 99474


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

Reasons for Designation

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 occasion their distribution pattern 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.3400 BC), 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 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.

The cairnfield on Swindon Hill survives in a good state of preservation. Evidence relating to the nature of Bronze Age agriculture will be preserved within and beneath the clearance cairns. Important environmental evidence will also be preserved on the old land surface beneath and in between the cairns.


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


The monument includes a group of at least thirty field clearance cairns and several funerary cairns situated on the flat pass between Witchy Neuk hillfort and Swindon Hill. The cairns are heather-covered mounds ranging in size from 3m to 6m in diameter and with the largest up to 1m in height. There are no visible traces of retaining circles of stone. Some of the mounds were opened earlier this century by James Brook of Hepple but no records of this work survive. The cairnfield represents a period of clearance for agricultural purposes.

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: 20905

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Dixon, D D, Upper Coquetdale, (1903)
No. 2220,

End of official listing