Cairnfield 800m west of Nether Rodknoll Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019877

Date first listed: 24-Nov-2000


Ordnance survey map of Cairnfield 800m west of Nether Rodknoll Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Derbyshire

District: North East Derbyshire (District Authority)

Parish: Brampton

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 29633 69958


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.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 800m west of Nether Rodknoll Farm contains undisturbed examples of clearance cairns and is important to our understanding of prehistoric agricultural use of this moorland.


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


The monument includes the remains of a Bronze Age cairnfield comprising more than 20 cairns distributed to form a coherent group of prehistoric agricultural clearance features.

The cairnfield occupies the backslope of a small escarpment in open moorland. There are approximately 27 cairns in relatively stone-free ground forming an area of clearance roughly circular in plan. The cairns range from between 1.5m to 4m in diameter, but many of them are distinctly ovoid. Although there are no surviving traces of linear clearance, the ovoid shape of some of the cairns indicates that they once formed part of an area of agriculture containing enclosures, possibly bounded by hedges or fences. The absence of extensive linear clearance remains and the irregular nature of the cairnfield indicates that this may have been a relatively short-lived attempt at agriculture at a comparatively high altitude. The cairnfield may be seen as an extension to more extensive and longer-lived prehistoric settlement to the west and north west on the same moorlands.

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: 31272

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 90-1
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 90-1

End of official listing