Soil Site Reporter

Soil Associations

0571t Efford 2

Soil and site characteristics
Well drained fine loamy soils over gravel at variable depth. Associated with fine loamy over clayey soils with slowly permeable subsoils and slight seasonal waterlogging. Some fine loamy over gravelly soils affected by groundwater. Some slowly permeable seasonally waterlogged fine loamy over clayey soils.

Glaciofluvial drift
Cropping and Land Use
Cereals and other arable crops; some horticultural crops; some deciduous woodland; gravel extraction.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
5.71 EFFORD 31% Endoskeletic Luvisols
5.82 HORNBEAM 29% Chromic Endostagnic Luvisols
7.11 WICKHAM 15% Eutric Luvic Planosols
8.31 SOUTHMINSTER 10% Eutric Endoskeletic Gleysols
Covers 68 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification
Freely draining slightly acid loamy soils

0571t Efford 2

Detailed Description

This variable soil association, which has no dominant soil series, has a range of well drained, mainly fine loamy over gravelly soils, and seasonally waterlogged mostly fine loamy over clayey soils. There are small areas of fine loamy over gravelly soils affected by groundwater. The association covers 67 kmĀ² east and north-east of Chelmsford, Essex. The soils are generally on high ground rising to over 100 m O.D. and are formed in glaciofluvial drift, associated deeply weathered drift and the underlying Eocene clay. The most common soils belong to the Efford series, typical argillic brown earths, with fine loamy flinty horizons overlying gravelly subsoils at various depths, and the Hornbeam series, stagnogleyic paleo-argillic brown earths, resting on deeply weathered reddish mottled clay. The well drained Efford series and similar coarse loamy Hall and Wick soils cover about a third of the land. Hornbeam soils with slight seasonal waterlogging, and associated Horseley and Terling series together with the similar but wetter Oak series, cover a similar area. Other common soils include Southminster series, fine loamy over gravelly typical cambic gley soils with grey mottling, and Wickham series, typical stagnogleys, here with flinty fine loamy or fine silty surface and subsurface horizons. Kearby soils similar to the Hornbeam series but without red mottling are found locally. Whilst there is no regular pattern to the soils, the Efford series is most common around Danbury, and Wickham soils are most frequent where the glaciofluvial gravels thin out over the Eocene clay on gentle to moderate slopes. The depth of topsoil on gravel or clay commonly varies over short distances. The terrain is usually moderately to steeply sloping at Danbury and Wickham Bishops, where a prominent dissected ridge carries much woodland. Around Tiptree and Tolleshunt D'Arcy slopes are gentle.

Soil Water Regime

Efford, Hall, Wick and Terling series are permeable and well drained (Wetness Class I). Horseley soils are slightly less permeable but are also well drained after underdrainage. Hornbeam and Kearby soils with slowly permeable clayey subsoils are subject to seasonal waterlogging (Wetness Class III) before drainage but are only occasionally waterlogged with appropriate treatment (Wetness Class II). Waterlogging is probably less prolonged than in the Oak and Wickham soils (Wetness Class III after drainage). Southminster soils, although permeable, are subject to fluctuating groundwater even after being drained (Wetness Class II on average). The soils are of moderate waterholding capacity, but those such as the Efford, Hall, Terling and Southminster series with gravelly or sandy subsoils hold less moisture than Hornbeam. Wickham, Oak and Kearby series with their clayey subsoils. The former soils are moderately droughty in normal years for most arable crops, but slightly droughty for oilseed rape. Hornbeam and similar soils are slightly droughty for cereals and sugar beet and moderately droughty for potatoes. All the soils are very droughty for grassland.

Cropping and Land Use

The Efford and the other well drained soils are easily worked, but the wetter soils with clayey subsoils, like Hornbeam series, need more careful management. Nevertheless, in most years there is ample time to cultivate and plant autumn-sown cereals; there are few opportunities for landwork in wet springs. Land use is varied. Most of the land is arable and a wide range of crops is grown but the country near Danbury and Wickham Bishops is well wooded and includes nature reserves and amenity woods. There are apple and pear orchards, and soft fruit is grown, particularly around Tiptree where there is a jam factory. The main arable crops are wheat and barley, the latter chiefly winter sown, some beans and oilseed rape and, around Tollesburv, sugar beet and herbage seed crops. Irrigation is widely practised especially on fruit crops. Gravel is extracted around Danbury and Tiptree.

0571t Efford 2

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