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 22/02/2018

0511a ABERFORD

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Soil and site characteristics

Shallow, locally brashy well drained calcareous fine loamy soils over limestone. Some deeper calcareous soils in colluvium.

Geology

Permian Jurassic and Eocene limestone

Cropping and Land Use

Cereals with some sugar beet and potatoes; limited permanent grassland.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
5.11 ABERFORD 55% Calcaric Endoleptic Cambisols
3.43 ELMTON 30% Calcaric Leptosols
5.14 DULLINGHAM 10% Colluvic Calcaric Cambisols

Covers 1125 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification

5
Freely draining lime-rich loamy soils

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0511a ABERFORD

Detailed Description

The easily worked land of this association consists of brown calcareous earths of the Aberford series with subsidiary brown rendzinas belonging to Elmton series and, locally, colluvial brown calcareous earths of the Dullingham series. The association is extensive on gentle dipslopes of Permian and Jurassic limestones in Midland and Northern England and occurs to a limited extent in Cambridgeshire and on Eocene limestones on the Isle of Wight. Aberford soils, which cover about half the land, are well drained and fine loamy with a characteristic brown subsoil over limestone at 40 to 50 cm depth. Stoniness varies with the hardness of the underlying rock but normally increases down the profile. The shallow and stony Elmton soils are found on brows, steeper slopes or over particularly hard limestone. Dullingham soils occur on footslopes, in dry valleys and sites where soil has accumulated. Most soils are calcareous and all are well drained.

Although the association is mapped on Jurassic limestone in the Cotswolds, the main delineations are on the Magnesian (dolomitic) Limestone of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. There, Dullingham soils are rare and Barkston soils occupy concave sites where deep non-calcareous drift containing limestone fragments has accumulated. The Elmton series is dominant where the topography is more rolling as around Whitwell, Elmton and Thorpe Salvin, and very shallow grey rendzinas, Wetherby series, are found fringing gorges or on steep slopes. Argillic brown earths (Wilderhope series sometimes replace Aberford soils, and, on the sandy dolomites of the Mansfield area where soils have lower clay and carbonate contents, Cranwell and Marcham soils are encountered. In places a thin drift with quartzite pebbles forms the topsoil of Aberford profiles and locally, argillic brown earths wholly in such drift (Escrick series) occur. Saxton, Whimple and Spetchley soils are found where thin mudstones are interbedded with the limestones.

Around Brackley in Northamptonshire, on a gently sloping limestone plateau, Aberford and Elmton soils are randomly mixed in roughly equal proportions, neither occupying a particular position in the landscape. Elsewhere in Northamptonshire, the association occurs in thin strips on limestone benches along valley sides, and in other places where the limestone is thinly interbedded with clay, Evesham and occasional Moreton soils are included. Thin drift from chalky till upslope contaminates surface horizons in places. On the Corallian limestone near Upware, Cambridgeshire, Aberford series is dominant and the mapped area is fringed by calcareous humic gley soils of the Peacock series.

The association is mapped mainly on the Magnesian Limestone outcrop in Yorkshire between Wetherby and the Derbyshire border. Further north the outcrop is largely drift-covered but the association has been identified near Well, at Killerby and in east Durham. It occurs also on Jurassic limestone around Scunthorpe, near Newbald, south of Malton and on the lower slopes of the North Yorks Moors near Snainton. Aberford series is the dominant soil on gentle slopes, but Elmton series and Wetherby series, the latter south of Wetherby, often occur on convex, steeper slopes.

On the Magnesian Limestone, small patches of till give rise to the well drained Barkston series and the slowly permeable Clifton, Thorner and Brickfield series. Saxton and Spetchley soils are found where thin reddish mudstones are interbedded with the limestones. Around Scunthorpe the Jurassic limestone is sandy and Cranwell and Newport soils are found within the association. The Aswarby series occurs sporadically. On the North Yorks Moors the soils become increasingly decalcified with altitude and Waltham series gradually replaces Aberford soils.

On Jurassic limestone in north Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire the association occurs on extensive gentle slopes and is mainly composed of Aberford and Elmton soils in equal proportions. Dullingham soils are uncommon. The soil pattern is complex and unrelated to landscape. The stone content of the topsoil varies so it is sometimes possible to distinguish patches of slightly stony Elmton from moderately stony Aberford soils by the surface stoniness of the ground. Aberford and Elmton soils usually contain about 30 per cent clay and some are marginal to Sherborne and Moreton series. Local outcrops of clay give patches of Evesham and Moreton soils, often as narrow strips bordering incised streams, as near Sandford St Martin. The non-calcareous Waltham series as been noted around Ardley and Stoke Lyne. On limestones in the Portland Beds, east of Oxford, there are some subsidiary sandy Standhill soils.

On the Isle of Wight, the association is developed over the gently sloping dipslope of the Eocene Bembridge Limestone. Aberford and Elmton soils are co-dominant, most with limestone at less than 45 cm depth. There are some Evesham soils but Dullingham soils are absent.

Soil Water Regime

All soils are permeable and well drained (Wetness Class I) although minor drainage is required where thin mudstones or clay shales outcrop. The soils readily absorb winter rain so there are few streams. In the South East the soils are moderately droughty for cereals and potatoes but very droughty for grass.

Cropping and Land Use

Soils of the Aberford association provide ample opportunity for landwork in autumn and adequate opportunity in all but wet springs . They are easy to work, warm up fairly rapidly in the spring and accessible water in the underlying limestone helps to meet moisture demand by annual crops. The land use, therefore, is mainly arable. Cereal crops are interspersed with potatoes, some sugar beet, peas and horticultural crops. Loose stones impede drilling on Elmton soils but with direct drilling techniques, yields similar to those from conventionally cultivated land can be achieved, and fewer stones are brought to the surface. Under grassland there is little poaching risk and the land is accessible for much of the winter. There are advantages of early bite but drought can severely curtail summer use. Most of the soils are naturally alkaline or neutral in reaction, but acid patches can occur over small drift-filled solution hollows in the limestone. The soils retain added potassium in an easily available form but are responsive to phosphorus. Those on Magnesian Limestone have a high magnesium status.

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0511a ABERFORD

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 22/02/2018