Cairnfield and carved rocks on Snowden Carr 670m south west of Low Hall Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014303

Date first listed: 24-Apr-1996


Ordnance survey map of Cairnfield and carved rocks on Snowden Carr 670m south west of Low Hall Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Harrogate (District Authority)

Parish: Askwith

National Grid Reference: SE 17754 50991


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.

Prehistoric rock carving is found on natural boulders and rock outcrops in many areas of upland Britain. It is especially common in the north of England in Northumberland, Durham, and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form of decoration is the `cup' marking, where small cup-like hollows are worked into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more `rings'. Single pecked lines extending from the cup through the rings may also exist, providing the design with a `tail'. Other shapes and patterns also occur but are less frequent. Carvings may occur singly, in small groups, or may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They date to the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500 BC) and provide one our most important insights into prehistoric `art'. The exact meaning of the designs remains unknown, but they may be interpreted as sacred or religious symbols. All positively identified prehistoric rock carvings exhibiting a significant group of designs will normally be identified as nationally important. This cairnfield survives well and may preserve burials. It forms part of the prehistoric landscape of Snowden Carr. The carvings on these rocks also survive well and information on their relationship to the cairnfield will be preserved.


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


The monument includes a cairnfield consisting of at least 25 cairns, a number of fragments of boulder walling, and at least 12 carved rocks. It is situated on Snowden Carr, east of a carpark on Askwith Moor Road, and is crossed by a gas pipeline. The cairns range from 3m-8m in diameter, and are up to 1m high. The walling consists of rough lines of boulders partly obscured by deep heather. Most of the cairns are undisturbed, but some of the larger carved rocks appear to have been hewn for building stone; this is most common at the north eastern edge of the cairnfield. The carvings on the rocks vary from a few cup marks to complexes of cups, rings, and grooves. Most are concentrated in a small area close to the eastern edge of the cairnfield. Some of the rocks are incorporated into cairns, but it is not clear whether the carvings were made before or after the rocks were moved. The majority of carvings are on rocks which are well-embedded in the ground.

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: 28064

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing