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Cranfield University 2021. The Soils Guide. Available: Cranfield University, UK. Last accessed 05/12/2021

0714b OAK 1

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Soil and site characteristics

Slowly permeable seasonally waterlogged fine loamy over clayey soils.


Reddish till

Cropping and Land Use

Winter cereals and some short term grassland, stock rearing and dairying.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
7.14 OAK 60% Chromic Luvic Stagnosols
7.11 SALOP 25% Chromic Eutric Albic Luvic Stagnosols

Covers 145 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification

Slowly permeable seasonally wet acid loamy and clayey soils


0714b OAK 1

Detailed Description

This association, covering 110 kmĀ², occurs south of Birmingham and on the higher ground of Needwood Forest near Abbots Bromley. The slowly permeable fine loamy over clayey soils are developed in reddish Wolstonian till derived largely from Triassic mudstones. The Oak series, which belongs to the paleo-argillic stagnogley soils, is characterized by its dominantly brownish matrix colours and the presence of bright red mottles in the subsoil, whilst the associated Salop soils (typical stagnogley soils) have a mainly reddish matrix and no bright red mottles. The Oak series now includes soils previously named as Bagots series and mapped in the Needwood Forest district by Jones (1983) and the area around Rowington by Beard (1984). The Salop series is most commonly found around the edges of the delineations shown on the map and on upper valley sides where erosion has been greatest, particularly around Redditch. South-east of Birmingham thin cappings of coarse textured drift give inclusions of coarse loamy over clayey Rufford and Astley Hall soils (Beard 1984), and some very small patches of fine loamy Clifton soils. Stone content, mainly quartzites and flints, is variable and ranges from slightly to moderately stony although occasionally both Oak and Salop series have stoneless subsoils. At depth the till beneath the Salop series is locally calcareous. Between Birmingham and Warwick, where the land is deeply dissected by valleys which cut through to the underlying mudstone, Brockhurst and Wickham soils are found.

Soil Water Regime

Oak and Salop soils have moderately porous topsoils but are waterlogged for long periods in winter because of slowly permeable subsoils (Wetness Class IV). After appropriate drainage treatments, usually using permeable fill and secondary treatments such as subsoiling to assist downward water movement, Oak and Salop soils are waterlogged for shorter periods in winter. When waterlogged, surplus water flows away horizontally as run-off, and Oak and Salop soils have a low winter rain acceptance potential.

Cropping and Land Use

The land provides moderately good mixed farming land with mainly cereals and grass in rotation, though oilseed rape is also grown. Autumn-sown crops of wheat, barley and oilseed rape are preferred because there are few opportunities to work the land in spring. On low ground, where the soils are wet, holdings tend to be small and specialize in cattle and sheep rearing. Root crops such as sugar beet are grown only as an occasional break crop because of harvesting difficulties in wet autumns. Autumn ploughing is advantageous and cage wheels desirable for additional protection against structural damage. Direct drilling gives more flexibility with timing but wet soil conditions lead to surface compaction and waterlogging and must be carefully avoided. Poaching is the main factor limiting grassland use. Surface horizons dry out only slowly after rainfall, even with efficient underdrainage, and have a low bearing strength when at or near field capacity. Careful management is therefore necessary to minimize poaching, particularly early and late in the season and where densely stocked. Oak and Salop soils are often slightly acid in the surface and benefit from regular dressings of lime and annual applications of phosphorus and potassium are desirable to maintain optimum yields.


0714b OAK 1