All information Copyright, Cranfield University © 2017

Citation: To use information from this web resource in your work, please cite this as follows:
Cranfield University 2017. The Soils Guide. Available: www.landis.org.uk. Cranfield University, UK. Last accessed 28/05/2017

0411b EVESHAM 2

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Soil and site characteristics

Slowly permeable calcareous clayey soils. Some slowly permeable seasonally waterlogged non-calcareous clayey and fine loamy or fine silty over clayey soils. Landslips and associated irregular terrain locally.

Geology

Jurassic and Cretaceous clay

Cropping and Land Use

Winter cereals and short term grassland with stock rearing in drier lowlands; much dairying on permanent grassland in moist lowlands.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
4.11 EVESHAM 45% Calcaric Stagnic Vertic Cambisols
7.12 DENCHWORTH 30% Eutric Vertic Stagnosols
7.11 WICKHAM 10% Eutric Luvic Planosols

Covers 1156 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification

9
Lime-rich loamy and clayey soils with impeded drainage

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0411b EVESHAM 2

Detailed Description

The soils of this Evesham association are developed in Jurassic and Cretaceous clay shales and associated thin drifts in the clay vales of lowland England. The unit consists of Evesham series (typical calcareous pelosols) and Denchworth series (pelo-stagnogley soils) which together make up three-quarters of the mapped area. These soils are clayey and have slowly permeable subsoils. In contrast, Wickham (typical stagnogley soils) and Oxpasture soils occur where loamy drift covers the shales, and locally non-calcareous Holdenby soils occur in clayey drift. Occasional limestone bands in the clay shales give ancillary Haselor profiles. The river valleys crossing the broad clay vales have Fladbury, Thames, Uffington (Allen and Sturdy 1980) and Wyre soils in clayey alluvium. The association covers about 507 km². It is extensive in typically rolling countryside eastwards from Tewkesbury along the flanks of Bredon Hill to Stratford upon Avon, and between Shipston-on-Stour and Rugby. South and east of Droitwich it has a sporadic distribution and forms a narrow outcrop along the north-facing slopes of Edge Hill. Denchworth soils are widespread and most common on concave receiving sites, and Wickham and Oxpasture soils occur along river terrace margins where thin loamy drift covers the clay shales. Holdenby soils are locally extensive on clayey Head surrounding Bredon Hill and along the Cotswold footslope. Where limestone is near the surface, clayey Haselor soils occur. In Nottinghamshire the association is mainly on level or near-level featureless country between Hickling and Newark. Denchworth soils are less common than farther south, although many Evesham profiles are gleyed. Wickham and Oxpasture soils are associated with patches of terrace drift, and locally St Lawrence soils are recognized where calcareous gravels cover the clay shale.

The association is inextensive in Eastern England and covers 80 km² on level or slightly sloping land east of Newark on Trent. Many of the component Evesham soils are gleyed and Denchworth series occurs less frequently than in the south Midlands. Haselor soils are included on the Hydraulic Limestones outcrop north of Bottesford, Leicestershire, but the principal inclusions are Wickham and Oxpasture soils. Where calcareous gravels cover the shales, St Lawrence soils are common.

The association occurs on gently undulating ground in the Liassic clay vales of north Gloucestershire . At the foot of the Cotswold scarp there are clayey Holdenby and fine loamy over clayey Oxpasture soils, and in lower sites further out in the Vale, Denchworth soils are common. The association is extensive on Liassic and Rhaetic clays in central Somerset where Denchworth is the main associate soil, together with Wickham and Oxpasture soils. In Dorset the association is in vales below clay and limestone ridges formed by Forest Marble and Fullers Earth, where Haselor soils are a common inclusion, and shallow well drained Sherborne soils are occasionally found on the narrow limestone outcrops. For north Wiltshire St Lawrence series is included where calcareous river terrace gravels cap better-drained knolls of Oxford Clay.

The association covers only 4 km² near Brigg, Humberside. Although the Evesham and Denchworth series dominate this very gently undulating area, Wallasea and Downholland soils are common along narrow alluvial strips of the river Ancholme tributaries. Denchworth and Wickham soils are mainly found on gently sloping receiving sites that favour waterlogging.

In South East England, the association is mainly on the Oxford and Gault Clays, and Denchworth series is the main associate. In south Oxfordshire, where the association abuts river terrace gravels, St Lawrence soils are common. In the Vale of Aylesbury the soils were mapped as the former Wicken series.


Soil Water Regime

Evesham and Denchworth soils are slowly permeable and are generally seasonally waterlogged (Wetness Class III). On low-lying sites Denchworth and Wickham soils are waterlogged for long periods (Wetness Class IV), occasionally into the growing season. Evesham and Wickham soils respond well to artificial drainage, but Denchworth series, which has a slow hydraulic conductivity, is often difficult to drain effectively. Because of this slow permeability the soils lie wet at the surface on flatter ground and little winter rain is absorbed.

In the higher rainfall lowlands of the South West these clayey, slowly permeable soils are waterlogged for prolonged periods in winter and occasionally in the growing season (Wetness Class IV), but in drier parts wetness is mainly restricted to the winter (Wetness Class III). Evesham and Wickham soils generally respond well to artificial drainage, but Denchworth soils are difficult to drain effectively. Because of the slow permeability and gentle slopes or level sites little winter rainfall is absorbed. The main soils have moderate moisture reserves for plant growth and they are only slightly droughty for cereal crops but moderately droughty for grass.

Cropping and Land Use

There is no opportunity for spring cultivation on these soils so winter cereals and grass are the dominant crops with an emphasis on grassland on low-lying land that has a greater proportion of wet soils. Minimum cultivations and direct drilling have enabled large areas to be brought into regular cultivation, and oilseed rape is widely used as a break crop in preference to grass leys. The soils compact easily when wet and the timing of cultivations is critical. The potential grass yield is large but because of waterlogging and the severe risk of poaching the grazing period is curtailed in autumn and spring. Most of the orchards of the Vale of Evesham occur on this land. The soils are usually neutral or alkaline in reaction. Potassium levels are generally adequate for plant needs, but phosphorus is less readily available. Copper deficiences have been reported in places, especially near limestone outcrops where pH levels are high.

In Eastern England much of the land is under cereals and short-term grassland, but larger areas of oilseed rape are sown each year as a profitable break crop. Cereal yields are slightly limited by droughtiness, and the short period available for spring landwork, especially in wet years, puts the emphasis on winter cereals. When wet the soils are easily compacted and correct timing of cultivations is important. The soils are very droughty for grass, but the land can be grazed for longer in spring and autumn than in the Midlands or the South West.

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0411b EVESHAM 2

Typical Landscapes

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All information Copyright, Cranfield University © 2017

Citation: To use information from this web resource in your work, please cite this as follows:
Cranfield University 2017. The Soils Guide. Available: www.landis.org.uk. Cranfield University, UK. Last accessed 28/05/2017