Winyards Nick prehistoric field system


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017588

Date first listed: 23-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Winyards Nick prehistoric field system
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Sheffield (Metropolitan Authority)

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 25386 81093


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.

Prehistoric field systems often consist of concentrations of clearance cairns, sometimes with linear clearance banks. The features were constructed from stone cleared from the surrounding landscape to improve its use for agriculture and on occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots. Such field systems were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC), although the majority of examples 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 the sites provide important information on the development of land use and agricultural practices. The Winyards Nick field system contains a diversity of features illustrating the relationship between cleared areas of landscape, a cairnfield and linear clearance banks.


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


The monument includes a series of Bronze Age cairns with associated clearance banks located in open moorland overlooking the Burbage Valley, to the west of a fortified natural outcrop known as Carl Wark. The remains demonstrate that this was an area of prehistoric settlement lying on gently shelving and relatively well drained south facing land. The monument consists of at least 20 cairns of medium and large stones distributed throughout the area, many of which have been placed over large earthfast boulders. Some appear to have been disturbed in recent times, but many appear intact. Recent heather burning has exposed many of the cairns and the land surrounding them, showing that the area was cleared of surface stones. However, it is likely that other small cairns and possible fragments of linear clearance banks still lie undiscovered in the more dense areas of heather growth. The cairns are of varying size, ranging from approximately 2m to 9m in diameter. Some, especially the larger ones, are ovoid in plan, typically 11m by 5m. It is thought that the primary function of the cairns was for agricultural clearance but it is possible that there may have been secondary human burial deposits placed in some of them, especially the larger ones. To the south of the cairns and the main cleared areas are the fragmentary remains of a linear clearance bank comprising small, medium and large weathered stones. In places, the bank is substantial and impressive and about 0.85m high. The banking is partly covered with turf but much of the earlier stone construction is exposed. More fragments of linear clearance banking can be seen to the north west of the southern bank. Cairns, some ovoid in shape, are also contained within the fragments of banking. The southernmost clearance bank runs east-west, but those fragments of banking to the north west are curving and run north-south, indicating that these formed two sides of an enclosed area at an earlier date or that the cleared area was subdivided into small fields. The cairns are located mainly at the periphery of the cleared areas. The combination of the cairnfield, cleared land and the linear clearance banks shows that that area was used for agricultural purposes and that at least some of the cleared area was arranged as a field system. The banks would have been created as the result of loose stone debris being moved to the sides of the fields which were than probably enclosed by hedges or fencing. Linear clearance banks are absent from the eastern side of the cleared areas where the prehistoric features are restricted to cairns only. The most easterly cairn appears to be formed of one cairn superimposed upon another. There are several standing stones within the otherwise cleared area. Although these may have been erected in prehistoric times, they are more likely to be natural features. The eastern part of the area is crossed by a series of minor hollow ways which were probably created for moorland access from settlement sites to the south in the Burbage Valley or for access to quarries on the moor. Some of these hollow ways may date from the medieval period. A modern walkers path runs north-south through the monument and in places modern ditches have been dug to assist drainage.

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: 29800

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Beamish, H, Smith, L, The National Trust Archaeological Survey: The Longshaw Estate, (1986)
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986)
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, (1986)
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., , Vol. 12, (1983)

End of official listing