Soil Site Reporter

Soil Associations


Soil and site characteristics
Deep reddish fine loamy soils with slowly permeable subsoils and slight seasonal waterlogging. Some deep well drained coarse loamy soils. Some fine loamy soils affected by groundwater.

Reddish till and glaciofluvial drift
Cropping and Land Use
Cereals, sugar beet and potatoes; some short term grassland.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
5.72 SALWICK 55% Chromic Endostagnic Luvisols
5.41 WICK 25% Eutric Cambisols
5.43 HOPSFORD 20% Eutric Endogleyic Cambisols
Covers 584 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification
Slightly acid loamy and clayey soils with impeded drainage

Alert ! - slowly permeable soils with seasonal wetness read the alert


Detailed Description

This association, developed in reddish till and glaciofluvial drift, consists of fine loamy soils with slight seasonal waterlogging, and well drained coarse loamy soils. It occurs sporadically throughout the Midlands and Northern England, and locally in Wales. The land is mainly gently or moderately sloping, often forming broad ridges rising above low ground which carries surface-water gley soils. The dominant Salwick series, stagnogleyic argillic brown earths, has coarse loamy upper horizons overlying dense fine loamy reddish till. The subsidiary Wick soils, typical brown earths, are developed in coarse loamy glaciofluvial drift and are very porous. In places, similar but fine loamy glaciofluvial drift gives gleyic brown earths of the Hopsford series. Where coarse loamy horizons greater than 40 cm thick overlie the till Nupend soils are found; these were formerly mapped as a deep sandy loamy phase of the Salwick series by Hollis (1978). Soils belonging to the Arrow series, developed in coarse loamy drift, are also included. Clifton soils are found on low-lying, wet ground. The association covers about 327 kmĀ² in the Midlands, mainly in Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire but also in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Warwickshire. It ranges from sea level on the Wirral to 185 m O.D. in Derbyshire. In Staffordshire, it is widespread west and north-west of Wolverhampton from where it extends to Cressage and Wellington in Shropshire. The Wick series is the main subsidiary soil with Hopsford and Arrow soils common. Clifton soils occur in a few small depressions. Around Claverley, thick (greater than 40 cm) coarse loamy horizons overlie the till and give a larger proportion of Nupend soils than elsewhere. On the Wirral, east of Crewe, and around Macclesfield, the land is undulating and surrounded by low-lying areas of stagnogley soils (Clifton and Salop associations). Here Wick soils are the main associate with Newport and Arrow series. Hopsford soils are less common than further south and Nupend soils are rare. In parts of Derbyshire and around Lichfield the soils are more stony than elsewhere because the drift is partly derived from the underlying Triassic Pebble Beds. Nupend soils are common and reddish, coarse loamy Aldridge series, stagnogleyic brown podzolic soils, are included. Around Alcester the association is mapped on river terrace drift and Wick and Arrow soils are the main subsidiaries here. In Wales the association occupies undulating terrain with some kame and kettle topography on heterogeneous morainic drift. It commonly flanks the main valleys. Salwick series is the most extensive soil in reddish drift containing Devonian mudstone and sandstone. Wick soils which are brownish, coarser textured and more stony are developed in drift derived from Carboniferous rocks. The complex nature of the drift is such that other soils are widespread, notably reddish typical brown earths of the Newbiggin and Oglethorpe series.

The association occurs near Carlisle and on the east coast between Redcar and Whitby. In Cumbria, the Wick and Arrow series are the principal subsidiaries and there are occasional Newport and Ollerton soils, but Hopsford soils are rare. The soils vary markedly over short distances because coarser glaciofluvial deposits are interbedded with the till and sometimes replace it laterally. Where thin coarse deposits overlie till, Nupend soils are found. Clifton soils occur on flat sites and in depressions. On the east coast the deposits are predominantly fine loamy, Hopsford soils being more important than in the west. There are some Newbiggin soils but Wick and Arrow series rarely occur.

Soil Water Regime

Salwick and Hopsford soils suffer from seasonal waterlogging (Wetness Class Ill) although drainage can be improved to Wetness Class II and I respectively, particularly in districts where the field capacity period is less than 150 days. The well drained coarse loamy Wick soils are naturally well drained (Wetness Class I). Overall the soils readily absorb winter rainwater.

Cropping and Land Use

Much of the land is in arable farming with some short-term grassland, encouraged by the moderately easy management requirements and the gentle to moderate slopes. Cereals, potatoes and sugar beet are widely grown and in some places, for example between Wolverhampton and Bridgnorth, horticulture is important. Hardy nursery stock is grown around Stone in Staffordshire. Available reserves of soil water arc moderate but there is a regular drought risk in the driest districts, for example around Bromsgrove and Cressage where all the component soils are moderately droughty for grass and potatoes but only slightly droughty for cereals. Potatoes are generally irrigated in most years whilst it is necessary for sugar beet in dry years only. Cultivations can be performed moderately easily and there is a long period for autumn landwork. There are sufficient good machinery work days in spring for most crops particularly on the Wick series. Although in the wetter areas opportunities are limited on Salwick series. Because of slowly permeable subsoils there is a period of delay after wetting before Salwick soils can be cultivated without risk of structural damage. Late harvesting of crops such as sugar beet and potatoes can also be difficult in wet years. Repeated arable cultivation can cause compaction particularly in fine loamy topsoils and regular subsoiling under suitable conditions is necessary to alleviate it. Grass is commonly used as a break in the arable rotation though permanent pasture is usually restricted to steep slopes. Poaching risk is negligible on well drained Wick soils, small on Hopsford and significant on Salwick soils. In Wales the association is used for mixed farming with grass and cereals but with the emphasis on dairying. There is also some horticulture, especially near Cardiff around Michaelstone.

Opportunities for cultivation are greatest in North Yorkshire, particularly on Salwick soils, so arable farming predominates there. Winter cereals and potatoes are the main crops, interspersed with ley grassland. Repeated cultivation can lead to compaction, particularly of fine loamy topsoils, and regular subsoiling under suitable conditions is necessary to alleviate it. On the limited area of grassland, poaching risk on Salwick soils is only moderate in North Yorkshire, compared with Cumbria.


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



Northern Region

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 16/07/2024

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