Soil Site Reporter

Soil Associations

0551b CUCKNEY 1

Soil and site characteristics
Well drained sandy and coarse loamy soils, often over soft sandstone. Risk of wind erosion

Permo-Triassic reddish sandstone
Cropping and Land Use
Cereals, sugar beet, potatoes; some coniferous and deciduous woodland and short term grassland.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
5.51 CUCKNEY 35% Eutric Rubic Arenosols
5.51 NEWPORT 30% Eutric Arenosols
5.41 WICK 20% Eutric Cambisols
6.11 BROWNRIGG 10% Arenic Entic Podzols
6.11 HOWARD 5% Dystric Chromic Arenosols
Covers 393 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification
Freely draining slightly acid sandy soils

0551b CUCKNEY 1

Detailed Description

The gently rolling partly wooded countryside of the Triassic sandstone in Nottinghamshire and west of Derby is dominated by the mainly sandy well drained soils of this association. The Cuckney series, which belongs to the typical brown sands, often has upper horizons developed in a thin slightly pebbly drift, but passes into soft, reddish sandstone or sand between 80 and 120 cm depth. It was included with Newport soils on soil maps around Derby (Bridges 1966), Nottinghamshire (Robson and George 1971 and Reeve 1976) and Shropshire (Hollis 1978). The similar associated Newport soils, as now defined, are developed in deep drift. On the lower slopes of the dry valleys, coarse loamy Wick soils (typical brown earths) are found in accumulations of Head, recent colluvium or local wind-blown material. Howard and Brownrigg series are typical brown podzolic soils. They are similar to Cuckney and Newport series respectively but have brightly coloured, podzolized subsoils, and are found under remnants of Sherwood Forest and elsewhere on land cleared for agriculture in recent decades. In Nottinghamshire, this association extends from Nottingham to Blyth and, except for small areas of Delamere association in coniferous plantations and Bridgnorth association on steep wooded slopes, is the main map unit on the Bunter outcrop covering 338 kmĀ² of land. Locally, Howard and Brownrigg soils are dominant, particularly in woodland around Clumber, and Shirrell Heath and Crannymoor soils also occur. Small cappings of till and glaciofluvial drift on hilltops and crests of spurs give rise to Salwick and Escrick soils. The soil pattern is similar in Derbyshire but outcrops of the Triassic Pebble Beds give very stony soils of the Mercaston series in places. The proportion of podzolized soils is smaller than in Nottinghamshire.

Soil Water Regime

All the soils are very permeable and well drained (Wetness Class I) so they readily absorb winter rain.

Cropping and Land Use

Much of the agricultural land on these easily worked soils is in arable use. There are ample machinery work days in spring and autumn and there are also opportunities for cultivation during dry periods in winter. Nevertheless, compaction and panning can occur if the soils are worked too soon after heavy rain. Barley is the principal crop with sugar beet and potatoes grown as break crops; much of the potato crop is grown for crisp manufacture. Wind erosion during spring gales can remove sugar beet seeds and seedlings and cause severe foliar damage to cereal crops. All but the Wick soils have a small available water capacity which is insufficient for crop demand in central Nottinghamshire and yield there is often lowered by drought. The soils are irrigated widely but, because of the limited supply of suitable water, irrigation is restricted to the more responsive and higher value crops such as potatoes where there is also a quality benefit. Permanent grassland occurs as parkland on steep slopes in Derbyshire but is rare in Nottinghamshire. Leys are sown as break crops and grazed mainly by sheep. Although grass yields without irrigation are small, there is early and late access to the land without risk of poaching. There is some horticulture locally and many battery hen units in Nottinghamshire, the poultry manure providing valuable organic matter and nutrients to the soils. The soils are naturally acid and poor in plant nutrients, so periodic heavy dressings of lime, potassium and phosphorus and frequent seasonal applications of nitrogen are required for productive agricultural use. Manganese deficiency occurs in cereals in spring and early summer, particularly during excessively dry weather, but is easily corrected by sprays. About a third of the association is wooded in Nottinghamshire but only a few stands of oak from the former Sherwood Forest have survived. Plantations are mainly of Corsican pine which gives large timber yields and is more resistant to atmospheric pollution, pests and disease than the indigenous Scots pine. The latter is still favoured for planting in hollows susceptible to frost. Demand for pit-props in nearby coal mines has declined and most of the larger timber goes for woodwool manufacture. The well wooded landscape and rapidly draining soils make this association popular for year-round recreation. There are four country parks totalling 1770 ha at Clumber, Newstead, Rufford, and around the Major Oak at Edwinstowe, and many footpaths and bridleways in the Forestry Commission woods.

0551b CUCKNEY 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


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 18/06/2024

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