Cairnfield and barrow on Rabbit Warren, 900m south east of Park Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016418

Date first listed: 19-Mar-1999


Ordnance survey map of Cairnfield and barrow on Rabbit Warren, 900m south east of Park Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Derbyshire

District: Derbyshire Dales (District Authority)

Parish: Beeley

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 28103 68744


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

Reasons for Designation

The East Moors in Derbyshire includes all the gritstone moors east of the River Derwent. It covers an area of 105 sq km, of which around 63% is open moorland and 37% is enclosed. As a result of recent and on-going archaeological survey, the East Moors area is becoming one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the enclosed land the archaeological remains are fragmentary, but survive sufficiently well to show that early human activity extended beyond the confines of the open moors. On the open moors there is significant and well-articulated evidence over extensive areas for human exploitation of the gritstone uplands from the Neolithic to the post-medieval periods. Bronze Age activity accounts for the most intensive use of the moorlands. Evidence for it includes some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairnfields in northern England as well settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other ceremonial remains which, together, provide a detailed insight into life in the Bronze Age. Also of importance is the well preserved and often visible relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods since this provides an insight into successive changes in land use through time. A large number of the prehistoric sites on the moors, because of their rarity in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, will be identified as nationally important.

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 land surface to improve its use for agriculture and on occasions their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots. Occasionally some of the cairns were used for funerary purposes, although without excavation it is difficult to determine which cairns contain burials. Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC), although the majority date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). Cairnfields can also retain information concerning the development of land use and agricultural practices as well as the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the prehistoric period. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments chiefly dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. The burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called cists. In some cases, cairns occupy prominent locations and are a major visual element in the modern landscape. They are the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst prehistoric communities. The monument 900m south east of Park Farm is especially important as an example of well-preserved agricultural clearance measures surviving together with an associated and contemporary funerary structure. Further significant information on the original use and inter-relationships of the remains will be preserved.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric cairnfield and an adjacent burial cairn or barrow. The cairnfield was created as the result of land clearance for agriculture during the Bronze Age. The site occupies a well-drained ridge of moorland on the East Moors of Derbyshire. There are between 31 and 34 cairns of various sizes, the majority ranging between 2m and 4m in diameter, although there are one or two larger examples of up to 5.5m in diameter. Many of the cairns are circular, but others are elongated where they may have been associated with previous field boundaries. The cairns were constructed from cleared stones gathered from the surrounding area. Although one or two of the cairns show slight disturbances, the majority are complete examples. Also associated with land clearance are slight traces of lynchets and probable field banks of stone and turf. These indicate that the area was likely to have been divided into field plots, created by debris thrown against fences or hedges erected as field boundaries. At the north western end of the cairnfield stands the remains of a burial cairn or barrow. The cairn measures approximately 9.5m in diameter and stands about 0.5m high. Its centre has been robbed of some of its stones, probably for post-medieval wall building. The integrity of the remains indicates that buried archaeological features, including human burial remains, may survive below ground. The cairn is probably Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age in date and may date from the earlier phases of settlement on these moorlands. Contained within the area of protection, and passing through the cairnfield, are several hollow ways, in part used as walkers' footpaths.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 3 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: 31243

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 113-114
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 113
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986)

End of official listing