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Cranfield University 2021. The Soils Guide. Available: Cranfield University, UK. Last accessed 07/12/2021


« 0552a KEXBY Associations Soilsguide Home lake LAKE »

Soil and site characteristics

Slowly permeable seasonally waterlogged fine loamy over clayey soils and similar soils with slowly permeable subsoils and slight seasonal waterlogging. Some well drained fine and coarse loamy soils.


Cretaceous and Jurassic interbedded sand and clay

Cropping and Land Use

Short term grassland and cereal rotations; dairying.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
7.11 KINGSTON 40% Eutric Albic Luvic Stagnosols
5.72 BURSLEDON 20% Endostagnic Luvisols
5.71 FYFIELD 15% Chromic Luvisols
5.71 DUNDALE 10% Haplic Luvisols

Covers 64 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification

Slowly permeable seasonally wet slightly acid but base-rich loamy and clayey soils



Detailed Description

Slowly permeable soils developed in interbedded Corallian and Lower Greensand clays, barns and sands and associated drift are dominant in this association, which is confined to south Oxfordshire and East Sussex. The land in south Oxfordshire is part of a gently sloping Corallian ridge which rises above adjacent clay vales and has been mapped in detail. In East Sussex the association is on the Lower Greensand outcrop and forms a narrow belt of gently sloping land that is easier to work and is slightly higher than the neighbouring clayey soils.

Kingston soils, typical stagnogley soils, have grey and ochreous mottled fine loamy upper layers with a large fine sand fraction over clayey subsoils. The associated Bursledon soils, stagnogleyic argillic brown earths, are fine loamy throughout with grey and ochreous colours in the subsoil; they were formerly called Shellingford series. Fyfield and Dundale soils are unmottled coarse or fine loamy typical argillic brown earths. Hedge End soils are locally extensive in East Sussex; they differ from Kingston soils in having greenish glauconitic subsoils. Small amounts of Curdridge, Fladbury and Thames soils are also included.

In south Oxfordshire, Kingston soils are dominant on most level ground or gentle slopes with Fyfield and Bursledon soils restricted to slightly higher knolls. Curdridge soils occur at flushes and in bottomlands. Fladbury and Thames soils are limited to small stretches of river floodplain. In East Sussex, Kingston, Bursledon and Dundale soils are intermingled in a complex pattern and in varying proportions over most of the delineations but Fyfield soils are widespread along the northern edge. Soils of the Hedge End replace Kingston series near Ripe.

Soil Water Regime

The clayey subsoils of Kingston profiles are slowly permeable in winter with only limited downward movement of water, and seasonal waterlogging (Wetness Class III or IV) continues even where drainage improvements have been made. Undrained Bursledon soils are seasonally waterlogged (Wetness Class III) but Fyfield and Dundale soils are permeable and well drained (Wetness Class I). Intermittent winter rain is usually absorbed but run-off occurs over bare soil surfaces that have slaked and capped during prolonged periods of wet weather. The dominant soils have moderate or large amounts of available water. The drought risk for cereals is small but moderate for potatoes and grass.

Cropping and Land Use

Waterlogged and weakly structured topsoils of Kingston series are vulnerable to damage from untimely cultivations or grazing, even where drainage improvements have been made. Opportunities for spring landwork are restricted, particularly in East Sussex where the climate is wetter; here there is also a significant risk of poaching. Bare soil surfaces slake and cap readily under heavy rains, especially where they have been worked to a fine tilth. With careful management, sequential direct drilling of cereal crops is successful though shallow cultivation may be needed to eliminate surface capping. Bursledon, Fyfield and Dundale soils are drier and less difficult to manage. Cropping is a mixture of cereals, principally winter wheat and barley, and ley grass. Field vegetables including leeks, lettuce and potatoes and soft fruit are grown locally in south Oxfordshire. Nutrient levels are adequate in Kingston soils but potassium and magnesium reserves can be low in the other principal soils; liming is needed to maintain adequate pH.