Soil Site Reporter

Soil Associations


Soil and site characteristics
Slowly permeable seasonally waterlogged loamy over clayey and fine silty soils over soft rock. Some well drained coarse loamy soils over harder rock.

Carboniferous mudstone with interbedded sandstone
Cropping and Land Use
Cereals some potatoes and permanent grassland; stock rearing in the Midlands.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
7.13 BARDSEY 35% Eutric Planosols
5.41 RIVINGTON 25% Eutric Endoleptic Cambisols
7.13 TICKNALL 15% Siltic Eutric Stagnosols
5.42 HEAPEY 10% Eutric Endostagnic Endoskeletic Cambisols
Covers 1000 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


Detailed Description

The Bardsey association is composed mainly of slowly permeable soils over Carboniferous mudstones and shales, with some well drained soils over sandstones. Head from the weathered sandstone is widespread, so that the upper horizons of the predominant Bardsey series, cambic stagnogley soils, are fine loamy rather than clayey or silty and are often more stony than those of the soils of the Dale association, which are also on Carboniferous shales. The other principal soils are the Rivington series, typical brown earths, Ticknall series, cambic stagnogley soils, and Heapey series, stagnogleyic brown earths. The association is extensive in Northern England, particularly South Yorkshire, and also in the Midlands. It is normally on gently undulating to rolling terrain between 10 and 140 m O.D., often bounded by sandstone outcrops, but rises in places to 400 m O.D.; some steeper slopes are included. There are 595 km² of the Bardsey association in the Midlands, mainly east of Stoke-on-Trent between Cheadle and Macclesfield, and on the Derbyshire coalfield between Belper and Sheffield. It also occurs around Swadlincote and Ashby-de-la-Zouch, on the south-east side of Cannock Chase, between Tamworth and Nuneaton and in east Shropshire and north-west Worcestershire around Wyre Forest. Heapey soils are sometimes found on moderately steep slopes, often alongside narrow sandstone outcrops. Some of these sandstones carry Neath rather than Rivington soils, particularly in the Derbyshire coalfield. In some places, notably north of Stoke-on-Trent, sandstone bands are rare and there are few Rivington soils. In many parts of north Staffordshire, Ticknall soils are uncommon but there are small areas of the Brickfield series in deep drift on lower slopes. Melbourne and Kings Newton series form common inclusions near Melbourne where there are many interbedded sandstones.

This association, which covers 185 km², is found mainly on the Coal Measures outcrop between Sheffield and Wakefield, but it is also in Wensleydale, Swaledale and mid-Northumberland. Bardsey series covers most of the land, with other stagnogleys of the Ticknall or Dale series on convex upper slopes. Heapey or Stow series are on brows and some upper slopes, where there are also occasional stagnogleyic rankers. Papworth series occurs on steeper slopes. Narrow sandstone ridges or brows have Rivington and sometimes Neath or Melbourne series. Some small restored open-cast coal workings are included, together with land around the main industrial areas where the surface soil has been modified by the addition of refuse.

Soil Water Regime

Bardsey and Ticknall series are seasonally waterlogged because of their slowly permeable subsoil at shallow depth. The degree of waterlogging varies with drainage treatment, climate and cropping. Undrained land with a wet climate may be severely waterlogged (Wetness Class V). In low rainfall areas, appropriately drained land is in Wetness Class III but is in Wetness Class IV in much of the wetter northern districts. The Rivington series, overlying permeable shattered sandstone, is well drained (Wetness Class I). The soils do not readily absorb winter rainwater, hence rapid run-off is likely. Bardsey soils are non-droughty for cereals, but slightly droughty under grass while Rivington soils are moderately droughty under grass in normal years.

Cropping and Land Use

In the Midlands the land is mainly under permanent grass, arable use predominating only in south Staffordshire and Warwickshire. Some cereals and potatoes are grown in east Derbyshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire, and there is market gardening around Melbourne, Derbyshire. The slow subsoil permeability of the Bardsey and Ticknall series results in surface wetness which reduces the period suitable for landwork. Cultivations must be carefully timed to avoid damage to soil structure. Autumn landwork and crop establishment are desirable, except on Rivington soils, as there are few machinery work days available in spring.

In Yorkshire the association is mainly in cultivation. Potatoes are common on the lighter soils but cereals are the main crop. An unusual feature is the production of forced rhubarb between Leeds and Wakefield. Grass yields are acceptable under intensive use and there is some permanent grass, especially on the steeper or higher ground. Although there can be summer drought and limited autumn growth, moderate winter traffic and grazing are possible. The slow subsoil permeability of the Bardsey and Ticknall series results in surface wetness however, which reduces the frequency with which machinery can work on the land. Cultivations must be carefully timed to avoid damage to soil structure. Autumn land work and crop establishment are desirable because, except on Rivington soils, there are few machinery work days available in spring.


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





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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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