Soil Site Reporter

Soil Associations

0511h BADSEY 1

Soil and site characteristics
Well drained calcareous and non-calcareous fine loamy soils over limestone gravel. Some deep fine loamy soils and fine loamy soils over gravel, and similar but shallower soils affected by groundwater.

River terrace gravel
Cropping and Land Use
Cereals and short term grassland with dairying; some field vegetables and potatoes; gravel extraction.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
5.11 BADSEY 50% Calcaric Endoskeletic Cambisols
5.71 SUTTON 20% Endoskeletic Luvisols
5.12 ASTROP 10% Calcaric Endogleyic Cambisols
5.73 ISLE ABBOTTS 10% Eutric Endogleyic Endoskeletic Luvisols
Covers 212 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification
Freely draining lime-rich loamy soils

0511h BADSEY 1

Detailed Description

This association occurs on level or gently sloping river terraces along the Thames and its tributaries above Oxford, along the Severn and Avon in Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire and along the Yeo, Brue and Avon in Somerset, Avon and Wiltshire. The dominant Badsey soils are brown calcareous earths, mainly well drained and fine loamy with limestone river terrace gravel at shallow depth. Associated somewhat deeper Sutton soils are typical argillic brown earths. Other associates include Astrop series, fine loamy gleyic brown calcareous earths, and Isle Abbotts series, fine loamy over gravelly gleyic argillic brown earths, both in thin Head overlying gravels.

Gravel is at shallow depth in Badsey soils, and Sacrewell series occurs where it is even shallower. The deeper Sutton and Ludford soils form polygonal or linear patterns in places (Jarvis and Hazelden 1982). Isle Abbotts soils occupy sites affected by groundwater, either low-lying ground adjacent to rivers and streams or where the gravel thins over underlying clay. Most of the river terrace gravels overlie clay at depth. Astrop soils are developed in Head on inter-terrace slope and Oxpasture and Holdenby soils are where the Head is thin over clay. In central Somerset alongside the Yeo and Brue, Isle Abbotts and Badsey soils are co-dominant and Sutton soils rare. In the Severn Vale the association includes Holdenby soils in thin clayey Head. North of Cricklade along the upper Thames there are Kelmscot and Ickford soils around the wetter fringes of terraces. In the Bath Avon valley, Sutton soils are extensive on low ridges.

Around Oxford, the association is present only on the lowest terrace but upstream it occurs on all terraces except the highest. In the Thames valley east of Lechlade, some land adjacent to the low terrace, mapped by the Geological Survey as "older alluvium", is included and here there is a greater proportion of wetter Ickford and Kelmscot soils than usual. Sacrewell series is locally common in the Thames valley, especially upstream of Standlake.

Soil Water Regime

Badsey, Sutton and Sacrewell soils are all well drained (Wetness Class I) whilst Ickford, Kelmscot, Isle Abbotts and Astrop are either well drained or suffer some waterlogging in winter (Wetness Class I or II). Oxpasture and Holdenby soils are occasionally or seasonally waterlogged (Wetness Class II or III). Excess winter rain drains freely to the underlying gravel. The variations in profile available water and droughtiness for Badsey and Sutton soils largely reflects the depth to gravel, Badsey soils being the more droughty for cereals and grass. Astrop and Isle Abbotts soils have similar amounts of available water to Sutton soils.

Cropping and Land Use

There are long periods in the autumn and spring of most years when Badsey and Sutton soils can be cultivated without damage. Since the soils are naturally well drained there are also occasions in winter when, after a dry spell of about a week, landwork is possible. Cultivation when the land is wet causes compaction and special care is needed in wet springs when tillage opportunities are limited. The soils are well suited to directly drilled cereal crops. Badsey and Astrop soils are calcareous but Sutton and Isle Abbotts need occasional liming; all have little potassium where unfertilized. The principal enterprises are mixed farming or dairying on ley grassland. Although there is little risk of poaching by stock, summer grass growth is severely restricted by drought and productivity is limited. Yields of cereal crops grown in Badsey soils are also reduced by lack of moisture in early summer.

0511h BADSEY 1

Distribution Map

Note that the yellow shading represents a buffer to highlight the location of very small areas of the association.

Keys to component soil series

South Eastern Region

South Western Region

Typical Landscapes

South Western Region

South Western Region


South Eastern Region

All information Copyright, Cranfield University © 2024

Citation: To use information from this web resource in your work, please cite this as follows:
Cranfield University 2024. The Soils Guide. Available: Cranfield University, UK. Last accessed 15/07/2024

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