Bleara Moor Cairnfield, Earby, Lancashire

Cairns:  OS Grid Reference – SD 919 457 —  NEW DISCOVERY

Getting Here

From Earby, go eastwards up the steep moorland Coolham Lane. A coupla hundred yards up past the little reservoirs on your right there’s a tall, large wooden stile to climb over, up the old heaps of quarried stone and onto the flat moorland plain of Bleara Moor.  You’re here! If the heather’s grown back however, you’ve no chance of seeing ’em!

Archaeology & History

One of at least a dozen small cairns on NW of Bleara Moor

When we came up here the other day (ostensibly to check out the great Bleara Lowe tombs on top of the moor), a grey wet day scattered its more darkened light across the moor, which thankfully had been burnt back a few months previous. If this hadn’t happened, we’d have never seen what we found: a scattering of at least a dozen small single cairns, typical of those found on the upper and lower slopes of Green Crag Slack on Ilkley Moor.  They’re on the lower northwest-facing plain of Bleara Moor and all are roughly the same size: about 3 yards by 3 yards across and only a foot or two in height, much overgrown in peat and vegetation.  Although we found a good number of these small cairns where the heather had been burnt away, there also seemed to be others in the long heather itself, but this was, of course, hard to say with any certainty.  A few more exploratory ventures in and around the moor would be good after the next heather-burning sessions!

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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5 thoughts on “Bleara Moor Cairnfield, Earby, Lancashire”

  1. Standridge and Brown Hill SD 717 487 (Easington Fell)

    There is a similar spread of this type of cairn on the above moor that I have yet to plot on a grid map.

    Have you excluded 19th century shooting butss or huts, etc. for he quarrymen (on the Easington site this has not been done yet)?

    Well spotted

    1. Hi John –

      < Have you excluded 19th century shooting butss or huts, etc. for he quarrymen >

      Yeahhh… they’re pretty easy to work out. On the same day we found this cairnfield, another larger cairn appeared amidst a small burnt-out region of heather a mile away. The stones were all very eroded, the site much overgrown in peat, but a coupla hundred yards away were the denuded remains of a couple of grouse-butts – which were very different indeed.

      atb – Paul

  2. Good, good. You may well be on to someting here Paul. A Roman road runs just to east (and a major Roman road to the north) with many enclosures on each side. The road over Bleara is an ancient way (salt road) – and just below your site, to the east, we have two ‘kirk’ place-names.The township of Earby will be the ‘key’ to this site.

    Good hunting


  3. This is a most interesting find. I grew up nearby and always thought how there must be other prehistoric remains near Bleara Lowe. Keep up doing the good work!


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