All information Copyright, Cranfield University © 2018

Citation: To use information from this web resource in your work, please cite this as follows:
Cranfield University 2018. The Soils Guide. Available: www.landis.org.uk. Cranfield University, UK. Last accessed 23/10/2018

0431 WORCESTER

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Soil and site characteristics

Slowly permeable non-calcareous and calcareous reddish clayey soils over mudstone, shallow on steeper slopes. Associated with similar non-calcareous fine loamy over clayey soils. Slight risk of water erosion.

Geology

Permo-Triassic reddish mudstone

Cropping and Land Use

Permanent and short term grassland with dairying and stock rearing; some winter cereals in drier districts.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
4.31 WORCESTER 45% Chromic Vertic Luvisols
5.72 WHIMPLE 20% Chromic Endostagnic Luvisols
4.11 CLAYWORTH 15% Chromic Calcaric Vertic Cambisols

Covers 979 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification

8
Slightly acid loamy and clayey soils with impeded drainage

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0431 WORCESTER

Detailed Description

This association is dominated by reddish clayey soils developed in Permo-Triassic mudstone and clay shale. It is extensive throughout the Midlands and South West England on moderate to steep slopes between 15 and 150 m O.D. Small areas are also mapped in Northern England. It includes non-calcareous Worcester soils, typical argillic pelosols, and the calcareous Clayworth series, typical calcareous pelosols. Where there is a thin layer of fine loamy or fine silty drift over the mudstone, Whimple series, stagnogleyic argillic brown earths, are included, mostly on slopes of less than 8 degrees. Bands or lenses of greenish grey mudstone or clay shale and occasional harder siltstones (skerries) give soils of the Agardsley series. Hodnet soils are found in a few localities on interbedded siltstones and fine sandstones. On wet, lower-lying land, profiles of the Brockhurst and Spetchley series are included. The association occurs mainly on moderate slopes in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Warwickshire, but on steeper slopes in Hereford and Worcester, Staffordshire and Derbyshire. It is most extensive on the western side of the Trent valley from Nottingham to Gringley on the Hill where Worcester and Whimple soils predominate. Here siltstone skerries are more common than elsewhere, especially around Gringley, giving shallow Worcester and Clayworth profiles. South of Nottingham, the association extends as far as Loughborough and includes some Hodnet soils. It also occurs east of Derby. In the Needwood Forest and Worcester districts, there is a larger proportion of greyish calcareous clayey soils (Agardsley series) than elsewhere, especially on slopes exceeding 11 degrees where mudstones of the Blue Anchor Formation (Tea Green Marl) form escarpments as at Marchington and Crowle. In the Avon valley, to the south and east of Leamington Spa and around Alcester, where the moderate slopes have little or no drift cover, Worcester soils are dominant with Clayworth and Whimple soils as the main subsidiaries. Along the southern edge of the Birmingham plateau there is a narrow strip of soils dominated by the Worcester series. Thin drift overlying the mudstone is more common than further south giving a larger proportion of Whimple soils. Between Bromsgrove and Droitwich, Whimple and Brockhurst are the main associate soils with narrow strips of Spetchley and Compton soils in small valleys. Here Clayworth soils are rare. The association occupies only 3 kmĀ² on gentle and moderate slopes near Gainsborough in Lincolnshire. Worcester and Whimple soils predominate. ,/P>

The association is found mostly bordering the river Severn and the Bristol Channel but also occurs further west near Minehead, Taunton and in east Devon. Greyish and calcareous mudstones are common in Avon and give a higher proportion of Clayworth and Agardsley profiles than elsewhere. The soil pattern common here, as well as in Gloucestershire, is Agardsley soils on convex upper slopes, Clayworth on middle slopes, and Worcester soils on lower ground. South of the Polden hills, in central Somerset and east Devon, the soil pattern is less clear and Worcester soils are more dominant.

The association is in Humberside, mainly on moderately and gently undulating land between 20 and 50 m O.D., between Stamford Bridge and Bishop Wilton and also on the Isle of Axholme. In valley bottoms there are poorly drained Spetchley soils. Occasionally, calcareous beds give Clayworth soils. Near the Jurassic outcrop the Triassic mudstone is covered with a thin layer of Head and Whimple soils are found. Soils in greenish grey calcareous mudstones cover up to a quarter of the land. They include the Agardsley series and also the St Lawrence series which was formerly described as Bossall series.


Soil Water Regime

Worcester and Clayworth series are normally seasonally waterlogged (Wetness Class III) but on slopes greater than 11 degrees and in localities with less than 150 field capacity days, both soils can have better water regimes (Wetness Class II). Whimple soils are also seasonally waterlogged (Wetness Class III) but, because they are normally confined to moderate and gentle slopes, improvement to Wetness Class II is only possible in the drier parts of the region. The dominantly slowly permeable subsoils of most of the constituent series give rise to rapid winter run-off, though in the drier districts where the soils are better drained (Wetness Class II) the winter rain acceptance potential is larger. All these soils benefit from drainage measures, but they compact easily so careful management is needed if improvements in soil water regime are to be maintained.

Cropping and Land Use

Much of the land is under permanent grassland and dairy cattle are widespread although locally beef cattle and sheep predominate. Poaching risk is appreciable everywhere though it is least in Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire where rainfall is lower. Some cereals are grown, particularly in the east and south and are normally restricted to slopes of less than 8 degrees. The very slowly permeable subsoil horizons and water retentive topsoils of the constituent series give rise to surface wetness. Winter cereals, particularly wheat, are the most suitable arable crops, because there are very few good machinery work days in spring except in the driest parts. Ploughing is best completed by the end of October to avoid structural damage. Harvesting difficulties and patchy germination preclude the successful cultivation of root crops on a regular basis. Much of the land north of Gainsborough is under woodland though some cereals are grown. Elsewhere land fringing urban areas is often under grass.

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0431 WORCESTER

Typical Landscapes

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All information Copyright, Cranfield University © 2018

Citation: To use information from this web resource in your work, please cite this as follows:
Cranfield University 2018. The Soils Guide. Available: www.landis.org.uk. Cranfield University, UK. Last accessed 23/10/2018