Cairnfield on Whitefield Edge, 900m south-west of Debdon Whitefield


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008879

Date first listed: 13-Jan-1993


Ordnance survey map of Cairnfield on Whitefield Edge, 900m south-west of Debdon Whitefield
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Nov-2018 at 14:25:29.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Cartington

National Grid Reference: NU 08376 03348


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 Whitefield Edge 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 between the cairns.


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


The monument includes a group of at least seventy field clearance cairns and several funerary cairns situated on the spur of a hill at Whitefield Edge. The clearance cairns are heather covered mounds ranging in size from 3m to 8m in diameter and standing to a maximum height of 1m. There are two larger mounds measuring 10m in diameter and up to 0.8m high; the more northerly mound has been disturbed by the former existence of an Ordnance Survey Trig point erected at its centre. The cairnfield represents an area of clearance for agricultural purposes during the Bronze Age. Although no definite fields can now be distinguished, traces of field walls and small lynchets were reported by field inspection in 1976. The latter, appearing as low banks, represent an accumulation of soil caused by continuous cultivation.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 20915

Legacy System: RSM


No. 2564,

End of official listing