Soil Site Reporter

Soil Associations

0571y HAMBLE 1

Soil and site characteristics
Deep well drained often stoneless fine silty soils. Some similar soils affected by groundwater and some fine loamy soils with slowly permeable subsoils and slight seasonal waterlogging. Some shallower soils over chalk. Slight risk of water erosion

Aeolian silty drift over Tertiary loam
Cropping and Land Use
Fruit and horticultural crops; field vegetables; cereals and potatoes; some hops.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
5.71 HAMBLE 30% Siltic Luvisols
5.73 HOOK 20% Siltic Endogleyic Luvisols
5.72 BURSLEDON 15% Endostagnic Luvisols
5.71 FRILSHAM 10% Chromic Endoleptic Luvisols
Covers 267 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification
Freely draining slightly acid loamy soils

Alert ! - capping silts read the alert

0571y HAMBLE 1

Detailed Description

This association occurs only in north and east Kent. The soils are developed on the lower part of the North Downs dipslope in aeolian silty drift and related Head over Chalk and Tertiary strata, chiefly loamy Thanet Beds. The once extensive Tertiary cover is dissected and cut through to the Chalk. The spreads of silty drift occur irregularly on the gently sloping valley sides and on the dipslope where in places they are extensive. The land is gently undulating and reaches almost to sea level.

Stoneless well drained silty Hamble soils, typical argillic brown earths, are dominant with similar, less well drained Hook soils, gleyic argillic brown earths with grey mottling in the subsoil, common. Bursledon soils are fine loamy stagnogleyic argillic brown earths developed locally in Thanet Beds, and Frilsham series are well drained fine loamy typical argillic brown earths over Chalk at moderate depth. The land was previously mapped as their Hamble-Bursledon association, but areas west of Rainham, where the former Woodnesborough series is dominant, are now excluded. The relief is subdued and there is no characteristic soil pattern. The distribution of soils is related to the underlying geology which itself has only a weak relationship to relief. The silty drift in which Hamble and Hook soils are developed mantles much of the land and is commonly thickest on south and east facing slopes. Hamble soils occur where the drift is thick, or where it is underlain by Chalk, Hook series is generally found on the lower ground or where the drift is thin and there are slowly permeable Thanet Beds beneath. Small areas of Park Gate soils, also in silty drift, occur on the lowest ground near streams. Bursledon soils occur in Thanet Beds, and Frilsham and Panholes soils are found where there is only a thin cover of drift over the Chalk.

On the Isle of Thanet, Frilsham soils are more common than elsewhere, and west of Ramsgate, Wickham and some Evesham soils are found on clayey Thanet Beds. Locally, as north of Sturry, near Canterbury, there are some Efford, Waterstock, Fyfield and Sonning soils in areas of complex geology with river terrace deposits. Other soils found in places include Frilford and Standhill series on Woolwich and Oldhaven Beds, and Wickham, Denchworth and Windsor series on London Clay near Faversham.

Soil Water Regime

Hamble and Frilsham soils are permeable and naturally well drained (Wetness Class I). Hook and Bursledon soils are occasionally and seasonally waterlogged respectively, but they can be improved by drainage measures and are then well drained and occasionally waterlogged (Wetness Class I and II). The soils readily absorb excess winter rain and there is usually little surface run-off but Hamble and Hook soils have weak surface structure and readily slake and cap, so reducing infiltration.

Hamble and Hook soils have good reserves of available water and in Kent are not worse than slightly droughty for cereals. In drier parts of the county with large soil moisture deficits, as on the Isle of Thanet, maincrop potatoes need irrigation to produce good yields and grassland is severely affected by droughtiness. Frilsham and Bursledon soils have less available water so are more droughty than Hamble and Hook soils.

Cropping and Land Use

There are ample opportunities for cultivations in autumn and spring over most of the land, though careful timing is needed to avoid compaction and damage to the weak structure of the silty Hamble and Hook soils and they are not suited to sequential direct drilling. There are a limited number of suitable days in spring for the cultivation of Bursledon soils, even in drier districts and where drained. Regular liming is needed to avoid patchy acidity within fields.

Much of this fertile land is used to grow top and soft fruit and hops. Arable farming with cereals, salad crops and vegetables is widespread, though irrigation is necessary for good yields of field vegetables, especially in east Kent. On the Isle of Thanet early potatoes are a valuable crop; the district is warm with over 200 frost free days a year and most of the crop is harvested by mid-June. Grassland is uncommon.

0571y HAMBLE 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

South Eastern Region

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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