Soil Site Reporter

Soil Associations


Soil and site characteristics
Slowly permeable seasonally waterlogged fine loamy soils. Some similar soils with slowly permeable subsoils and slight seasonal waterlogging. Some soils with wet peaty surface horizons.

Palaeozoic sandstone slate and mudstone
Cropping and Land Use
Stock rearing and dairying on permanent and short term grassland; some cereals on lower ground.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
7.13 SPORTSMANS 35% Endoskeletic Dystric Stagnosols
7.13 BRICKFIELD 15% Dystric Stagnosols
5.42 HEAPEY 15% Eutric Endostagnic Endoskeletic Cambisols
6.54 HAFREN 15% Endoskeletic Histic Stagnic Albic Podzols
Covers 69 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 Sportsmans association occurs on ridge tops and valley sides on Carboniferous and Devonian sandstones, slates and shales in Cornwall and west Devon. The main soils, Sportsmans and Heapey series have slowly permeable, often compact, subsoils overlain by more permeable loamy material. In the Sportsmans series, cambic stagnogleys, the stony coarse loamy compact subsoil is within moderate depth, but in similar associated Brickfield soils it is deeper. The fine loamy Heapey soils are less mottled stagnogleyic brown earths. Ferric stagnopodzols of the Hafren series and ironpan stagnopodzols of the Hiraethog series are present, as also are fine loamy brown podzolic Manod soils, the cultivated remnants of former stagnopodzols. On the highest land there are Wilsey soils with humose topsoils. Fine loamy Yeollandpark soils, affected by high groundwater in minor depressions, and some well drained Denbigh series, are also included.

In the wetter colder areas of Devon and east Cornwall, the usual Sportsmans and Brickfield soils are associated with Cegin, Hafren and Hiraethog soils. On the lower, drier interfluves of mid- and west- Cornwall, however, Heapey soils are often dominant, associated with Manod and Denbigh soils. This pattern is related not only to climatic differences but also to the varying extent of agricultural improvement and the change from sandstone-rich parent material in Devon to slaty rocks further west.

Soil Water Regime

Evidence from dipwells suggests that Sportsmans soils are waterlogged for a shorter time than would be inferred from their degree of gleying. The gley morphology is probably relict and may relate to a former wetter regime under moorland vegetation. Sportsmans soils are seasonally waterlogged (Wetness Class III), because of slow subsoil permeability, but Heapey soils are only occasionally so (Wetness Class II). Brickfield and Cegin soils are seasonally waterlogged (Wetness Class IV). Where cultivated Hafren and Hiraethog soils, are usually well drained (Wetness Class I) like Manod series.

Cropping and Land Use

Cultivations on Heapey and Sportsmans soils are restricted by soil wetness. Only in mid-Cornwall are both soils suitable for regular autumn cultivations. The growing season in Cornwall is long, so potential grass yields are large, although drought in the drier districts lowers production on stony soils. Poaching is likely in both autumn and spring on the wetter component soils, but Heapey and other better-drained soils in mid-Cornwall are well suited to grassland because there is less poaching risk.

The current land use, ley and permanent grassland, reflects the general climate and soil conditions, cereal cultivation is limited to the lower, drier land. Stones often hinder cultivations and cause machinery and implement wear. Wind exposure is severe on the more open ground. The soils are naturally acid and phosphorus status is low.


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

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 19/07/2024

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