Cairnfield 700m north east of Raven Tor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019481

Date first listed: 09-Mar-2001


Ordnance survey map of Cairnfield 700m north east of Raven Tor
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 19:40:43.


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 28804 67399


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 as 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.3,400 BC) although the majority date from the Bronze Age (2,000-700 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.

The cairnfield 700m north east of Raven Tor contains complete examples of small cairns, some of which are complex in construction. As such, they are important to our understanding of prehistoric agricultural and ceremonial use of this moorland.


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


The monument includes a small prehistoric cairnfield comprising at least six cairns.

The cairnfield occupies an area of moorland to the east of a west-facing escarpment at the top of a slight ridge. It comprises a group of dispersed cairns ranging from between 2m and 2.5m in diameter. At least two of the cairns appear to be more carefully constructed than the others, one having a formal kerb, the other a dished interior. The other cairns are well-formed, standing less than 0.5m above ground, although more of the features will survive below ground. Most of them appear to be undisturbed. The cairns may be the result of agricultural clearance from the surrounding area to provide better farmland. Their relatively uniform size and form indicates that, if agricultural in origin, they may be the result of a single episode of land utilisation. The dispersed nature of the cairnfield, however, together with the careful construction of at least two of the cairns, indicates that it may be a cairn cemetery.

The cairnfield is indicative of prehistoric settlement dating to the Bronze Age. Further settlement evidence also survives on the same moorland to the north west.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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: 31278

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 162

End of official listing