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 16/12/2017

0343d SHERBORNE

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Soil and site characteristics

Shallow well drained brashy calcareous clayey soils over limestone, associated with slowly permeable calcareous clayey soils.

Geology

Jurassic limestone and clay

Cropping and Land Use

Cereals, short term and permanent grassland with dairying and stock rearing.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
3.43 SHERBORNE 50% Calcaric Leptosols
5.11 MORETON 20% Calcaric Endoleptic Cambisols
4.11 EVESHAM 15% Calcaric Stagnic Vertic Cambisols
4.11 HASELOR 5% Clayic Calcaric Endoskeletic Cambisols

Covers 1190 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification

3
Shallow lime-rich soils over chalk or limestone

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0343d SHERBORNE

Detailed Description

The Sherborne association is extensive in South West England and occurs in small patches in Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. The soils are developed on Jurassic limestone with thin interbedded clays giving a varied soil pattern. Limestones give mainly clayey brown rendzinas, Sherborne series, and the deeper clayey typical brown calcareous earths, Moreton series. The clays with thin limestone bands give typical calcareous pelosols of the Evesham and Haselor series. Also included are loamy brown rendzinas and brown calcareous earths, Elmton and Aberford series, on limestone. The latter have a large silt content and often contain between 30 and 35 per cent clay, so in the field are, at times, difficult to distinguish from the Sherborne soils with which they are intimately associated. Didmarton series is found in the narrow dry valley bottoms.

The association covers about 57 km² in Eastern England, mainly in north-west Cambridgeshire. It occurs on a varied succession of limestone and clay shales. Sherborne is the dominant soil, but slowly permeable Denchworth series, together with Evesham soils, cover about a third of the ground. Haselor soils are largely absent in Cambridgeshire. There is a small area formed in sandy clays and interbedded limestones of the Upper Estuarine Series along Harper's Brook, south of Corby. Here Sherborne and Evesham soils are of equal extent.

Sherborne asociation is extensive and covers over 1000 km² on the Cotswolds in Avon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, and extends south through east Somerset into Dorset on similar limestones. It is also found on the Polden Hills, on the Portlandian and Purbeckian limestone outcrops in Dorset and at lower elevations on Lias limestone in the Mendip district. Sherborne series is the dominant soil, covering more than three-quarters of the land in places. Moreton profiles, though inextensive have a wide distribution. Evesham and Haselor soils are generally confined to the edge of the limestone outcrops where underlying clay shales are exposed but on the Purbeck Hills in Dorset, where clay shales are common within the limestones, Evesham and Haselor soils are widespread and more common than elsewhere. Small areas of fine loamy rendzinas of the Elmton series are included on the Cotswold plateau, and Marian soils occur on the steep scarp and on the valley sides incised into the dipslope. Narrow dry valleys are floored with limestone drift and colluvium and have Didmarton soils. The larger valleys have floodplains with wet clayey alluvial soils.

In north Oxfordshire east of Chipping Norton, there is a higher proportion of Elmton and Aberford soils than elsewhere, with Evesham soils also frequent.


Soil Water Regime

Sherborne and Moreton soils are very permeable and naturally well drained (Wetness Class I). Evesham soils have slowly permeable subsoils and are usually seasonally waterlogged (Wetness Class III). Denchworth soils, which commonly occupy receiving sites, have slowly permeable subsoils and are difficult to drain effectively. Surplus winter rainfall passes downwards through permeable Sherborne and Moreton soils with comparative ease, but the slow subsoil permeability of Evesham and Haselor soils reduces the effective percolation and when wet water movement is generally by surface run-off.

Cropping and Land Use

The well structured, Sherborne and Moreton soils support a wide range of crops and are easy to manage, though surface compaction is locally a minor problem, particularly on Moreton soils where they have been in continuous cereals. The clayey Evesham and Denchworth soils are less versatile and are mostly under cereals with grass leys. In most years the spring work period is long enough for cereals to be sown, but the presence of heavy wet soils tends to restrict most of the landwork to the autumn period. Droughtiness is an important limiting factor on these soils and yields of most crops are reduced because of the lack of available moisture. The soils are mostly calcareous, potassium levels are generally high enough for most plant needs, but phosphorus is inherently low.

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0343d SHERBORNE

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 16/12/2017