Two cairns on Beeley Moor, east of Hell Bank Plantation


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019484

Date first listed: 09-Mar-2001


Ordnance survey map of Two cairns on Beeley Moor, east of Hell Bank Plantation
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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 28973 68223


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.

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. These burials were placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called cists. Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the modern landscape. 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 two cairns on Beeley Moor, east of Hell Bank Plantation, are particularly important as rare examples of undisturbed monuments of this type. They lie close to other comparative burial monuments. Together these sites provide an insight into prehistoric use of this moorland.


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


The monument includes two adjacent prehistoric round cairns, one with a carefully constructed kerb of large boulders.

The cairns comprise mounds of stones and turf, one measuring approximately 3m in diameter, the other 7m by 5.5m. The smaller cairn takes the form of a uniform mound of weathered stones, now covered with an accumulation of peat and turf. The visible remains are circular in plan but much more of the structure will survive below ground. The other cairn stands approximately 30m to the north of the latter. It is a larger but low mound with a flat top, a form similar to a small number of other examples of funerary cairns in the region. Around the outside of the visible features is a ring of upright boulders forming a regular kerb to the monument. Although there is some visible stone in the interior of the mound, it does not appear to have been disturbed, nor indeed does the smaller cairn to the south.

The larger cairn is certainly funerary in function, given its complex structure, size and prominent position on the ridge. The smaller cairn could be associated with prehistoric agricultural clearance although the close proximity of the other monument indicates that it, too, is likely to be a funerary structure. Both cairns date to the Bronze Age and are evidence of prehistoric settlement of the moorlands.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 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: 31281

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 134
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 134

End of official listing