Sike Moss prehistoric cairnfield and two ring cairns 215m north east of Woodend Bridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020199

Date first listed: 18-Sep-2001


Ordnance survey map of Sike Moss prehistoric cairnfield and two ring cairns 215m north east of Woodend Bridge
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Copeland (District Authority)

Parish: Ulpha

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SD 17981 96478


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

Reasons for Designation

The Cumbrian uplands comprise large areas of remote mountainous terrain, much of which is largely open fellside. As a result of archaeological surveys between 1980 and 1990 within the Lake District National Park, these fells have become one of the best recorded upland areas in England. On the open fells there is sufficient well preserved and understood evidence over extensive areas for human exploitation of these uplands from the Neolithic to the post- medieval period. On the enclosed land and within forestry the archaeological remains are fragmentary, but they survive sufficiently well to show that human activity extended beyond the confines of the open fells. Bronze Age activity accounts for the most extensive use of the area, and evidence for it includes some of the largest and best preserved field systems and cairn fields in England, as well as settlement sites, numerous burial monuments, stone circles and other ceremonial remains. Taken together, their remains can provide a detailed insight into life in the later prehistoric period. Of additional importance is the well-preserved and often visible relationship between the remains of earlier and later periods, since this provides an understanding of changes in land use through time. Because of their rarity in a national context, excellent state of preservation and inter-connections, most prehistoric monuments on the Lake District fells 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 landsurface to improve its use for agriculture, and on occassion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots. They were constructed from the Neolithic period (from about 3400 BC) although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance which began during the Bronze Age (2000-700BC). The considerable longevity and variation in the size, content and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the development of land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the prehistoric period. Ring cairns are prehistoric ritual monuments comprising a cicular bank of stones surrounding a hollow central area. They often occur in pairs or small groups and are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial rituals. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of protection. Sike Moss prehistoric cairnfield and two ring cairns 215m north east of Woodend Bridge, survives well and forms part of a large area of well-preserved prehistoric landscape extending along the fellsides of south west Cumbria. In conjunction with a wide range of other prehistoric remains in the vicinity the monument represents evidence of long term management and exploitation of this area in prehistoric times.


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


The monument includes Sike Moss prehistoric cairnfield and two ring cairns 215m north east of Woodend Bridge. It is located on Ulpha Fell east of the Ulpha-Eskdale minor road, either side of a stream draining Sike Moss, and represents Bronze Age exploitation of this landscape. The cairnfield includes 15 circular and oval-shaped clearance cairns up to 0.35m high. The circular cairns measure between 1.9m and 4m in diameter while the oval-shaped cairns measure between 4.4m and 6.3m long by 2.1m and 3m wide. Close to the roadside are fragmentary remains of a curving wall which may have formed part of a small enclosure. The larger of the two ring cairns is located at approximately SD17949651 and measures 8.5m by 7.5m, its bank consisting of a wall of weathered boulders one to two courses high. The smaller ring cairn measures 7m by 5m and lies about 20m to the south. It consists of a flat interior partly surrounded by a circle of stones.

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: 34964

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Leech, R H, Ulpha Fell Survey Catalogue, (1983)
Quartermaine, J, Leech, R H, Upland Settlement of the Lake District: Result of Recent Surveys, (1997), 74-85

End of official listing