Soil Site Reporter

Soil Associations

0571f FYFIELD 3

Soil and site characteristics
Well drained stoneless loamy and sandy soils over soft sandstone. Some very acid soils with a wet peaty surface horizon and ironpan in woodland or on moorland.

Jurassic sand and sandstone
Cropping and Land Use
Short term grassland and cereals; coniferous woodland.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
5.71 FYFIELD 50% Chromic Luvisols
6.51 ADDERSTONE 20% Placic Endoleptic Histic Stagnic Albic Podzols
6.31 SHIRRELL HEATH 20% Albic Podzols
Covers 35 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification
Freely draining slightly acid loamy soils

0571f FYFIELD 3

Detailed Description

This inextensive association occurs in the North York Moors on Jurassic rocks which have a distinctive lithology of soft, thinly bedded, sometimes calcareous sandstone known as the Passage Beds. It is on gentle to moderate dipslopes, often dissected by more strongly sloping meltwater channels, at elevations of 95 to 235 m O.D. The predominant soil is the Fyfield series, typical argillic brown earths, but on moorland or afforested areas there are the Adderstone series, ironpan stagnopodzols, and Shirrell Heath series, humo¬ferric podzols. There are small areas of clayey Head on the plateaux, in which soils of the Dalby, Givendale and Ebberston seriesare formed. The fine loamy Dundale series, is also partly in this drift. On calcareous sandstone there are Elmton and Waltham soils, formerly the Murton/Sherborne and Moorsome series respectively, whereas Rivington, formerly Firby series, occurs on harder non-calcareous sandstone. The Howard series, occurs on soft sandstone and the Yondhead series is found in wet places.

Soil Water Regime

Fyfield series is well drained (Wetness Class I) and surplus winter rainwater passes readily through. The podzolic soils are wet for most of the year. When wet, their peaty surface does not readily accept further water so most of the winter rainwater is shed laterally. The Fyfield series is slightly droughty under grass in an average year but is not droughty for cereals.

Cropping and Land Use

Soils are easily worked and a variety of crops is possible. Cereals predominate, mostly barley with some winter wheat. The main limitation is the cool climate, so harvesting is later than on nearby lower ground and potato growing is limited. Turnips and swedes are widely grown for folding lambs over the winter. Although the soils can be slightly droughty, grass yields are high. The Fyfield series is rarely poached, so it can be heavily stocked and can withstand moderate winter traffic and grazing, particularly by sheep. Most farms have a small dairy or beef suckler herd. Slurry is readily accepted. The podzolic soils can be only lightly stocked but provide productive summer pasture. Moorland can be reclaimed by burning, rotavating, ploughing and applying lime and fertilizer, but the effects of copper and cobalt deficiencies can be worsened by liming.

The land, which occurs in Dalby and Wykeham Forests, north-east of Pickering, is productive and can support a wide range of species. Fyfield series has few limitations to tree growth apart from the moderately small available water capacity and the possibility of attack by conifer heart-rot fungus (Fomes annosus). There are no nutrient problems, and hardwoods such as beech, sycamore and elm can be grown (Kellie 1976). Deep cultivation is necessary to break the ironpan in the Adderstone series, disrupt occasional cementation in the Shirrell Heath series and mix peaty topsoil with underlying horizons. Adderstone soils have lower potential than the other series. Grand fir and western hemlock are capable of high yields on the Shirrell Heath series.

Most of the association lies within the North York Moors National Park. The Park Committee recognizes the importance of conserving the heather moorland but some has been reclaimed for forestry or agriculture. Elsewhere the moorland has suffered as a result of fires and further damage could be caused by the large numbers of visitors. There is strong resistance by conservationists to further loss of moorland and to the extension of coniferous plantations.

0571f FYFIELD 3

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