Soil Site Reporter

Soil Associations


Soil and site characteristics
Deep well drained fine and coarse loamy soils. Steep slopes locally.

Drift from Palaeozoic and Mesozoic sandstone and shale
Cropping and Land Use
Coniferous woodland on steep slopes; some grassland on gentle slopes.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
5.41 EAST KESWICK 65% Dystric Cambisols
5.41 NEATH 20% Eutric Endoleptic Cambisols
5.41 WICK 15% Eutric Cambisols
Covers 179 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification
Freely draining slightly acid loamy soils


Detailed Description

The association consists predominantly of coarse and fine loamy typical brown earths, in drift derived from Carboniferous and Jurassic shales interbedded with sandstones, on steep valley sides or escarpments. It occurs in Durham, Yorkshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire at heights ranging from 20 to 300 m O.D. Slopes vary greatly but are generally steeper than 4 degrees, with much land up to 25 degrees or more. The fine loamy East Keswick series, formerly Ambergate series, and the coarse loamy Wick series occur on slopes where the drift is more than 80 cm thick. The Neath series, fine loamy over sandstone, is found on convex upper or middle slopes.

Approximately 108 kmĀ² of the association have been mapped in Northern England. In West Yorkshire it is associated with steep valley sides and escarpments of the Lower Coal Measures around Huddersfield, Halifax, Leeds and Bradford. Where the drift thins over gritstone and coarse sandstones there are coarse loamy Rivington and Belmont soils. The land is under coniferous or mature deciduous woodland on the steep sides of valleys draining the northern parts of the North York Moors, above Staithes and Sandsend. Soils on steep slopes surrounding Farndale are also included. In the Pennines the association is found on valley sides, as in Weardale between Wolsingham and Burnhope. Smaller areas have been mapped around Middleton-in-Teesdale, Richmond and between Harrogate and Skipton.

Soil Water Regime

East Keswick, Neath and Wick soils are well drained (Wetness Class I). Occasional seasonally waterlogged sites are associated with Bardsey and Heapey soils (Wetness Class III). The soils are absorbent and, despite the steep slopes, there is little winter run-off

Cropping and Land Use

Because cultivation and cropping are restricted by gradient, the soils are mostly under poor grassland, scrub or managed deciduous and coniferous woodland, but occasional arable fields are found. On ground sloping less than 11 degrees grassland can be managed intensively and fields with favourable aspect are cultivated. There is little risk of poaching or rutting. Trees in hardwood plantations are closely spaced on lower ground, but on the exposed edges they are planted further apart and belong to hardier species. Sycamore, oak and beech are the commonest hardwoods, with Scots pine, European larch and Norway spruce the usual softwoods. All wooded areas have much amenity value by virtue of the steep terrain.


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


Northern Region

Typical Landscapes


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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