Register of ancient monuments

Reference number 1018560

Cairnfield On Ringstone Edge
Saddleworth Road
Sowerby Bridge


The monument includes a cairnfield on Ringstone Edge Moor, Barkisland. There are at least seven cairns up to 7m in diameter. The majority have been ploughed almost flat, but are visible as slight mounds in the improved pasture. However, the two northernmost cairns lying outside the area of improved pasture survive to a height of approximately 0.2m.


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 occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots. However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without excavation it may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials. Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c3400 BC), although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). 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.

Although the cairnfield on Ringstone Edge Moor has been damaged by ploughing it will retain important archaeological information and may preserve burials in the form of cremations. It is one of several prehistoric sites on Ringstone Edge Moor.

Last Updated: 07/10/2004