All information Copyright, Cranfield University © 2017

Citation: To use information from this web resource in your work, please cite this as follows:
Cranfield University 2017. The Soils Guide. Available: www.landis.org.uk. Cranfield University, UK. Last accessed 21/10/2017

0313a DUNWELL

« 0572g DUNNINGTON HEATH Associations Soilsguide Home 0541c EARDISTON 1 »

Soil and site characteristics

Shallow loamy upland soils on steep slopes, some with peaty topsoils. Some well drained deeper soils. Scree and bare rock locally.

Geology

Basic and intermediate igneous rock

Cropping and Land Use

Stock rearing on moderate value rough grazing in uplands; coniferous woodland.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
3.13 DUNWELL 40% Umbric Leptosols
6.11 DAVIDSTOW 35% Endoskeletic Entic Podzols
3.11 PRESELI 15% Histic Leptosols

Covers 64 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification

13
Freely draining acid loamy soils over rock

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0313a DUNWELL

Detailed Description

This association, in the Cheviot Hills, mainly consists of shallow soils over andesitic lava and, occasionally, tuff or agglomerate. It is also found on scree or extremely stony Head derived from these rocks. It occupies the steep slopes of deep valleys and also craggy hill summits where much rock is exposed. Elevation ranges from 180 to 460 m O.D. and the climate is cool, windy and wet. The predominant soil is the Dunwell series, brown rankers, but there are also the deeper Davidstow series, typical brown podzolic soils, and Preseli series, humic rankers. Brief profile descriptions of the main soils and a key to the component series are given below.

Though shallow soils dominate the association, Davidstow and Malvern soils are locally abundant on gentler slopes, and are found wherever thick Head has accumulated. Similar deep non-podzolic soils belonging to Mayalls series occur locally. There are also occasional patches of the Winter Hill series in hill peat, and small nclusions of Earle or Harthope series on less steep ground. A complex pattern of gravelly alluvial soils occupies some valley bottoms. Uphill, the association passes into the stagnopodzols of the Earle association, or on gentler slopes to peat soils of the Winter Hill association.


Soil Water Regime

The soils are well drained and moderately permeable; winter run-off of rainwater is moderately rapid.

Cropping and Land Use

Farm machinery cannot be much used in improvements since most slopes are too steep for safe and efficient handling, so much of the land remains in rough, semi-natural grassland. Where the gradient is less steep and there is no peaty topsoil, the land is moderately suitable for improved grassland and there is little poaching risk. Climate can be an additional limitation on the highest land and the short growing season restricts yields. The vegetation is mainly sparse bent-fescue grassland which provides relatively good grazing, except where there is much bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) which is especially prominent in summer and autumn. Heath bedstraw (Gallium saxatile) and common tormentil (Potentilla erecta) are nearly always present. The shallow soils dry out quickly, causing the vegetation to wilt in dry weather. On the higher land and peaty soils, Nardus and wavy hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa) are more abundant and offer only moderate grazing. Heather (Calluna vulgaris) and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) are common in places. Although Kidland Forest, north of Alwinton, and neighbouring privately-owned woodland occur on the association, it is poorly suited to forestry because of shallow soils, rocky ground and steep slopes. The steepest slopes have to be planted by hand and extraction effected by cable crane. The highest land is exposed and subject to mid-season frost. Scots pine is grown and Sitka spruce is probably a suitable alternative. Although a mixture is preferable, climate limits the choice of secondary species. Much of the association is within the Northumberland National Park, and some land is used for military training.

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0313a DUNWELL

Typical Landscapes

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All information Copyright, Cranfield University © 2017

Citation: To use information from this web resource in your work, please cite this as follows:
Cranfield University 2017. The Soils Guide. Available: www.landis.org.uk. Cranfield University, UK. Last accessed 21/10/2017