Cairnfield 650m north west of Bumper Castle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020414

Date first listed: 11-Dec-2001


Ordnance survey map of Cairnfield 650m north west of Bumper Castle
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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: Darley Dale

National Grid Reference: SK 27500 65493


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 gathered from the surrounding land surface to improve its use for agriculture. However funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without excavation it is impossible to determine which cairns contain burials. Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic BC). The considerable longevity and variation in size, content and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the development of land use and agricultural practises. They also provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the prehistoric period.

The cairnfield 650m north west of Bumper Castle survives in good condition with no indications of disturbance. The cairns will contain undisturbed archaeological remains providing important information on the prehistoric settlement of the surrounding moorlands. The cairnfield may also retain information relating to funerary practises.


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


The monument includes a cairnfield of Bronze Age date situated within an enclosed area of gritstone moorland. The monument provides evidence for prehistoric agriculture and settlement.

The monument is situated on fairly level ground a short distance to the west of a minor rock outcrop on Little Bumper Piece. The cairnfield comprises 15 small gritstone mounds or cairns, and a small lynchet measuring approximately 17m in length. The cairns comprise complete examples each measuring between 1m and 2m in diameter and standing up to 0.3m in height. The cairns represent the clearance of the land surface for agriculture. A number of the cairns are ovoid in plan and may have been incorporated within linear enclosures that defined cultivation plots. The north west limit of the cairnfield is marked by a long straight lynchet that is thought to represent a post-medieval boundary. The ground to the north west of the lynchet has been cleared and ploughed and it is likely that the cairnfield originally extended into this area.

The monument is associated with contemporary agricultural and ceremonial remains that are widespread upon the surrounding moorlands. A ring cairn is located some 400m to the NNE and is the subject of a separate scheduling.

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: 31310

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998)
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998), 182-183
Barnatt, J W, The Chatsworth Estate Historic Landscape Survey (Moorlands), (1998)
Barnatt, J W, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Bronze Age Remains on the East Moors of the Peak District, , Vol. 106, (1986)

End of official listing