Large univallate hillfort, two round cairns and medieval shieling on Carrock Fell


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011592

Date first listed: 23-Jan-1968

Date of most recent amendment: 23-Aug-1993


Ordnance survey map of Large univallate hillfort, two round cairns and medieval shieling on Carrock Fell
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Allerdale (District Authority)

Parish: Caldbeck

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Mungrisdale

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: NY 34275 33641


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

Reasons for Designation

Large univallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, ranging in size between 1ha and 10ha, located on hilltops and surrounded by a single boundary comprising earthworks of massive proportions. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the fourth century BC and the first century AD, although evidence for earlier use is present at most sites. The size of the earthworks reflects the ability of certain social groups to mobilise the labour necessary for works on such a monumental scale, and their function may have had as much to do with display as defence. Large univallate hillforts are also seen as centres of redistribution, both for subsistence products and items produced by craftsmen. The ramparts are of massive proportions except in locations where steepness of slope precludes easy access. They can vary between 6m and 20m wide and may survive to a height of 6m. The ditches can measure between 6m and 13m wide and between 3m and 5m deep. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances which often take the form of long passages formed by inturned ramparts and originally closed by a gate located towards the inner end of the passageway. The entrance may be flanked by guardrooms and/or accompanied by outworks. Internal features often include round-houses as well as small rectangular and square structures supported by four to six postholes and interpreted as raised granaries. When excavated, the interior areas exhibit a high density of features, including post- and stakeholes, gullies, floors, pits, hearths and roads. Large univallate hillforts are rare with between 50 and 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located within southern England where they occur on the chalklands of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. The western edge of the distribution is marked by scattered examples in north Somerset and east Devon, while further examples occur in central and western England and outliers further north. Within this distribution considerable regional variation is apparent, both in their size, rampart structure and the presence or absence of individual components. In view of the rarity of large univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the organisation and regional structure of Iron Age society, all examples with surviving archaeological potential are believed to be of national importance.

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c 2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds and cover single or multiple burials. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. Carrock Fell large univallate hillfort is the third largest hillfort in the north of England. Despite some stone robbing of the rampart the monument survives reasonably well. It will retain evidence for the settlement within the hillfort's interior and for the construction methods employed in the monument's defences. Additionally, despite limited antiquarian investigation, the two round cairns within the hillfort will retain evidence of interments within the cairns and upon the old landsurface beneath.


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


The monument includes a large univallate hillfort, two round cairns and a medieval shieling. It is located on the east-west summit ridge of Carrock Fell and includes an enclosure measuring approximately 245m east-west by 112m north-south surrounded by a drystone rampart up to 3m high and 4m wide which has tumbled and spread to a maximum of 17m wide in places. The highest part of the enclosure is a rocky knoll lying at the western end. To the east the ground descends gradually in a series of steps beyond which it rises again to a smooth rounded knoll in the eastern half of the enclosure. Access into the hillfort's interior is provided by two gates; the west gate lies immediately north-east of the highest point and measures 3m wide; the south gate lies a little east of centre and measures 4.4m wide. A short distance east of the south gate, and partially built into the outer face of the rampart, are remains of a three-roomed medieval shieling constructed of stones removed from the rampart. A round cairn measuring 15.3m by 14m is located upon the eastern rounded knoll within the hillfort's interior. At the cairn's centre is a cist orientated north-east - south-west and measuring 2.3m by 1.2m. Immediately east of the western rocky knoll at the hillfort's highest point is a mutilated round cairn 11m in diameter.

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: 22545

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Higham, N, The Northern Counties to AD 1000, (1986), 129
Collingwood, R G, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in The Hill Fort on Carrock Fell, (1938), 32-41
Collingwood, R G, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in The Hill Fort on Carrock Fell, (1938), 32-41
Hutchinson, , 'History and Antiquities of Cumberland' in History and Antiquities of Cumberland, , Vol. II, (1794), 381-7
Turner, V E, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Result of Survey Work Carried Out in the Caldbeck Fells, Cumbria, (1987), 23-5
Turner, V E, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Result of Survey Work Carried Out in the Caldbeck Fells, Cumbria, (1987), 19-25
Darvill,T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Bowl Barrows, (1988)
Raymond,F., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Large Univallate Hillforts, (1989)
SMR No. 5921, Cumbria SMR, Carrock Fell Hillfort, (1984)
SMR No. 5923, Cumbria SMR, Carrock Fell, (1984)
To Turner,V.E. (Site surveyor), Howard-Davis, C, (1986)

End of official listing