Prehistoric cultivation terraces immediately south east of Nook


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015765

Date first listed: 09-Oct-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 17-Apr-1997


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric cultivation terraces immediately south east of Nook
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. 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.

County: Cumbria

District: Carlisle (District Authority)

Parish: Bewcastle

National Grid Reference: NY 52149 78041


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

Reasons for Designation

Lynchets are a feature of the agricultural landscape caused by ploughing and are found along the edges of a field or are located along the contours within the field unit. Field boundaries, such as banks or walls, become enlarged and overlain by hillwash material loosened by the cultivation process, which builds up against them under the action of gravity. This accumulation of earth is known as a positive lynchet. A corresponding erosion from the downslope side of the boundary forms a negative lynchet. Together the positive and negative lynchets form a terrace or a series of terraces on a hillside and thus provide distinctive traces of medieval and earlier agricultural activity. Prehistoric lynchets are conspicuous in the square field systems, known as Celtic fields, where they tend to be narrow and follow the contours to form flights of terraces. They can be dated from the pottery in their boundaries and their relationship to other prehistoric monuments. The earliest prehistoric lynchets appear to be of Neolithic origin (3400-2000 BC) and they were in use throughout the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). Medieval lynchets can be recognised in the long rectangular fields, the so-called strip lynchets, laid out on sloping terrain in post-Roman and medieval times. Prehistoric lynchets can be confused with, if not reused as, the terraces of medieval strip cultivation on hillslopes. Length tends to differentiate the medieval from the prehistoric lynchet; the former are longer, often as much as 200m in length, and rarely less than 70m. Another way of differentiating medieval from earlier examples is the way they terminate; instead of being squared off, as were many Roman and earlier examples, they either ran out onto unploughed land or end in a sharp curved negative lynchet, formed as the plough was pulled round. Lynchet field systems provide an important insight into prehistoric cultivation methods. A substantial proportion of surviving examples, particularly where they are well preserved, are considered to be nationally important. The prehistoric lynchets immediately south east of Nook survive reasonably well and remain unencumbered by modern development. They are a rare survival of prehistoric cultivation in Cumbria and will contain archaeological evidence for the types of crops grown and the farming methods practised here. The monument lies relatively close to other prehistoric monuments around Bewcastle, thus indicating the importance of this area in prehistoric times and the diversity of monument classes to be found here.


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


The monument includes a series of three prehistoric cultivation terraces or lynchets running along the contours of the hillside a short distance south east of Nook. The lynchets face south west and vary between 3m-8m in width, 0.7m-2.2m in height, and up to a maximum of 120m in length. All modern field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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: 27765

Legacy System: RSM


AM7, Charlesworth,D., Lynchets SE of the Nook, (1973)
Cumbria SMR, Lynchets SE of the Nook, (1985)

End of official listing