Stoke Flat South prehistoric field system


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017593

Date first listed: 23-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Stoke Flat South prehistoric field system
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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: Baslow and Bubnell

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 25341 75852


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 accompanied by linear clearance banks. The features were constructed from stone cleared from the surrounding landscape to improve its use for agriculture and on occaisons their distribution pattern acn 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 monument at Stoke Flat South is a good example of a well-developed prehistoric field system created from the extensive clearance of moorland. It is also part of a wider system of prehistoric agriculture and settlement in the East Moors of the Peak District.


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, forming a prehistoric field system. The remains are located in open moorland adjacent to a gritstone edge known as Froggatt Edge which overlooks the River Derwent. The remains occupy gently shelving and relatively well drained land forming a ridge sloping to the east and west. A short distance to the north and east are similar prehistoric field systems known as Stoke Flat West and Stoke Flat East, both of which are the subject of separate schedulings (SMs 29804 and 29805). There are about 15 cairns within the area of protection. These are concentrated particularly in the northern and southern ends of the monument. Some of the cairns have been placed over large earthfast boulders. Although one or two appear to have been disturbed in recent times, most are still intact. The area has been widely cleared of surface stones but is less stone- free than other field systems in this area. The cairns are of varying size, ranging from 2m to 8.5m in diameter. Some are ovoid in plan where they are associated with linear clearance. It is thought that the primary function of the cairns was for agricultural clearance but such cairns were often reused for burial purposes. At Stoke Flat the larger cairns, where additional stone has been heaped on the original cairn, may indicate such reuse. One large cairn located on the northern edge of the ridge is larger than others and is particularly likely to have been used for funerary purposes. The monument also contains extensive remains of linear clearance banks. These are lengths of low, wide banking containing various sizes of cleared stone. They are in an extremely good state of preservation, being less fragmentary than some field systems found elsewhere on the East Moors of Derbyshire. Many of the banks survive to a height of about 0.6m, although most are now much lower. The banks were formed during clearance of the landscape where stones were moved from the centre to the edges of fields. These field edges were probably also marked by hedges or fences. Many of the banks were constructed on minor breaks of slope. The arrangement of the linear clearance shows that the area was divided into small irregular and sub-rectangular fields and smaller enclosures which are better described as yards. Several individual fields or enclosures can be discerned within the system. Some smaller enclosures, indicating the presence of possible domestic yards, lie towards the southern end of the monument. The presence of these small yards indicates that there were also contemporary settlements within the field system. The western side of the field system is marked by uncleared ground before this gives way to the scarp of Froggatt Edge. All post-medieval stone walls and related structures, fence posts and fencing 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: 29806

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986), 33-6
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., (1983)
Beswick, P, Merrills, D, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Soc.' in L H Butcher's Survey of Early Settlement ..., (1983)

End of official listing