Soil Site Reporter

Soil Associations

0712a DALE

Soil and site characteristics
Slowly permeable seasonally waterlogged clayey, fine loamy over clayey and fine silty soils on soft rock often stoneless.

Carboniferous and Jurassic clay and shale
Cropping and Land Use
Dairying on permanent and short term grassland; some cereals; coniferous woodland; some land disturbed by mining.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
7.12 DALE 45% Clayic Eutric Stagnosols
7.13 TICKNALL 15% Siltic Eutric Stagnosols
7.13 BARDSEY 15% Eutric Planosols
Covers 1335 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification
Slowly permeable seasonally wet acid loamy and clayey soils

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

0712a DALE

Detailed Description

The Dale association is found over Carboniferous mudstones and shales throughout the Pennine foothills, in the coalfields around Bristol, over similar rocks of Jurassic age in and around the North York Moors, and on small areas of Lower Palaeozoic rocks in the Welsh Borderland. It occurs on gently or moderately sloping valley sides below 300 m O.D. but can be on steep slopes at higher elevations (up to 460 m O.D.). The main soils are surface-water gley soils. The Dale series, pelo-stagnogley soils, is found where there is no Head, often on convex slopes. The Ticknall series, cambic stagnogley soils, occurs where thin shale beds alternate with siltstones and sandstones, and the Bardsey series, cambic stagnogley soils, is in thin Head overlying mudstones and shales below sandstone outcrops or on lower slopes. The association covers 235 km² of land in the Midlands, mainly in Derbyshire and north Staffordshire. Brickfield series in deep drift and less gleyed soils such as Heapey or Papworth series on steeper or convex slopes are included in most delineations. In the Derbyshire coalfield, there are some restored soils in small areas disturbed by surface mining and occasional Rivington soils occur on thin sandstones. Grindon soils (Hollis 1975) are locally common over interbedded limestone and clay shales in mid-Derbyshire and north Staffordshire, and Stow soils (formerly mapped as Alton series by Bridges 1966 and Hollis 1975) are also included. In Staffordshire, the Onecote and Ipstones series (Hollis 1975) are found above 300 m O.D. where topsoils are humose. In the Welsh Borderland the association covers 15 km² around Rushbury in Shropshire and Woolhope in Herefordshire. In Shropshire it is mapped on Wenlock Shales and Ordovician silty mudstones. In Herefordshire it occurs in the Silurian inlier of the Woolhope Dome on both Wenlockian and Llandovery clay shales. These soils, which were formerly called Speller series , are now included with the Dale series. The main associated soils are the silty Stanway series and fine silty over clayey Martock series.

The association is confined to small areas of Coal Measures shales around Cromhall, Coalpit Heath, Pensford, and Clutton in Avon and Nettlebridge in Somerset. The geological succession consists of shales interbedded with bands of less fissile mudstone and sandstone. These strata form a gently rounded landscape dominated by the clayey Dale series. Fine silty or fine loamy over clayey Bardsey soils are found occasionally in thin Head, and in Somerset silty shales give the fine silty Ticknall series. Occasional interbedded sandstone bands are more resistant to weathering and produce low ridges with fine loamy Neath , or fine loamy over clayey Stanley soils. Some valley floors include narrow tracts of Fladbury series in river alluvium.

The association covers 667 km². The Ticknall, Bardsey and Dale series were previously described in the North York Moors as Belvoir, Rowsham and Long Load series respectively. There are occasional profiles where the substrata include thin limestones interbedded with shales. Less gleyed soils are found on steeper, convex slopes; they include the Heapey series, the Papworth series, formerly described as Stanley series, or Podimore series; and the Stow series which includes part of the former Alton series. Soils with a humose topsoil belong to the Onecote or Ipstones series. Brickfield series also occurs, in pockets of till. The position of the association in relation to other soils is shown for the North York Moors, and for the south Pennines.

Soil Water Regime

The main soils are seasonally waterlogged (Wetness Class IV) where undrained. With drainage measures Bardsey and Ticknall soils can be improved to Wetness Class III. There is however wide variation in waterlogging according to rainfall. Excess winter rainwater moves laterally, mainly at shallow depth.

Cropping and Land Use

The highest land is predominantly in permanent grass but winter use is not advised because of poaching risk and it can be only lightly stocked at other times. Grass yields are potentially good in moist districts but less so in the lowlands where the soil moisture deficit is large. Opportunities for reseeding are restricted to summer months. At lower altitudes in Derbyshire cereals are grown with grass leys, but the fine loamy and clayey topsoils are unsuitable for root crops. Cultivations need careful timing as these soils usually have a large retained water capacity and low bearing strength when at or near field capacity. Early ploughing in autumn is essential and spring cultivation in wet years is likely to cause severe structural damage.

The main limitation to tree growth is shallow rooting caused by surface wetness, so ploughing and drainage are essential. Wind damage is possible in all but sheltered sites. The soils are easily prepared and are fertile, although weed growth is vigorous. Nitrogen status is good and in the higher parts of the North York Moors Sitka spruce has responded to phosphate. In North Yorkshire, planting is mainly Sitka or Norway spruce and some hardwoods with amenity value, namely ash, sycamore and elm, can be grown in sheltered places. Potential spruce yields are good. Lodgepole pine has also been commonly planted. Corsican pine, Japanese larch and hybrid larch have been planted to the north-east of Sheffield, where the climate is drier and air pollution appreciable.

0712a DALE

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 Western Region

Northern Region

Typical Landscapes



Northern Region

Northern Region

Northern 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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