Soil Site Reporter

Soil Associations

0552b Ollerton

Soil and site characteristics
Deep permeable sandy and coarse loamy soils affected by groundwater. Some coarse loamy soils with slowly permeable subsoils and slight seasonal waterlogging.

Glaciofluvial drift and chalky till
Cropping and Land Use
Cereals, sugar beet and peas and beans, some coniferous woodland.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
5.52 OLLERTON 41% Eutric Endogleyic Arenosols
5.72 HONINGHAM 39% Ruptic Endostagnic Luvisols
5.55 HOCKHAM 20% Arenic Ruptic Endostagnic Luvisols
Covers 35 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification
Freely draining slightly acid sandy soils

0552b Ollerton

Detailed Description

The Ollerton association consists of mainly permeable sandy and coarse loamy soils influenced to varying degrees by groundwater. It covers only 34 kmĀ² mostly in north-east Breckland but there is a small area near Botesdale in Suffolk. The gently undulating landscape in Breckland is drained by the headwaters of the river Thet and a tributary of the Wissey. The gentle slopes flanking the wide valley bottoms are underlain by a white chalky till with a loamy matrix, which is associated with patches of glaciofluvial gravels, but the surface horizons of the soils are largely developed in locally-derived aeolian sand. Ollerton, Hockham and Honingham series are co-dominant and randomly mixed. Ollerton series, which belongs to the gleyic brown sands, is developed in thick sand and Hockham series, gleyic argillic brown sands, occurs where chalky till is at relatively shallow depth. Hockham and Ollerton soils frequently have coarse loamy topsoils. Where the till is clayey and less permeable, coarse loamy Honingham series, stagnogleyic argillic brown earths, are found together with similar soils with loamy subsoils. All these soils have ochreous mottled subsoils caused by past or present seasonal waterlogging. Moulton and Swaffham Prior soils are also included on higher drier ground, where they alternate in a striped pattern. Honingham soils are most common on the northern Breckland margin near Watton where the ground rises towards the till plateau. Elsewhere the parent till is mainly fine loamy or coarser in texture. In Suffolk between Botesdale and Diss there are ancillary Bentley soils and Honingham soils occur mainly around the margins of the mapped area.

Soil Water Regime

The soils are naturally seasonally waterlogged (Wetness Class II and III), but with field ditches most of them are now well drained (Wetness Class I), although Honingham soils are occasionally waterlogged (Wetness Class II). The component sandy soils have a small available water capacity and, unless groundwater is available, they are moderately droughty for most crops, though Honingham soils being more water-retentive are only slightly droughty. All the main soils are very droughty for grass.

Cropping and Land Use

The sandy Ollerton and Hockham soils are easily worked and, if efficiently drained, there is little restriction on cultivations. There are few opportunities for cultivations on Honingham soils in wet springs, but there are good opportunities for autumn working. The chief crops are barley and sugar beet.

0552b Ollerton

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