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Cranfield University 2017. The Soils Guide. Available: www.landis.org.uk. Cranfield University, UK. Last accessed 17/12/2017

0571u SUTTON 1

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Soil and site characteristics

Well drained fine and coarse loamy soils locally calcareous and in places shallow over limestone gravel.

Geology

River terrace gravel

Cropping and Land Use

Cereals and short term grassland, potatoes and some field vegetables; gravel extraction.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
5.71 SUTTON 35% Endoskeletic Luvisols
5.71 ROUGEMONT 30% Ruptic Endoskeletic Luvisols
5.11 BADSEY 20% Calcaric Endoskeletic Cambisols

Covers 159 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification

7
Freely draining slightly acid but base-rich soils

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0571u SUTTON 1

Detailed Description

This association is extensive on level or gently sloping river terraces in the valleys of the Thames and its tributaries in Oxfordshire. It also occurs in the Upper Stour valley in Dorset, and in the Welland, Nene and Great Ouse valleys in Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. The soils are mainly well drained, fine and coarse loamy and overlie calcareous river terrace gravel of flint, limestone or chalk at various depths. The principal soils, Sutton series, are fine loamy typical argillic brown earths over gravel at moderate depth. The associated Rougemont soils are similar but coarse loamy, and Badsey soils are fine loamy over gravelly typical brown calcareous earths.

In Eastern England the association lies on river terrace deposits, 2 m to 60 m above the rivers and locally on slopes between them. On the terraces Sutton, Rougemont, Badsey, Maplestead and Ludford soils occur, Badsey series particularly where the soil thins over gravel. Patterned ground is common except on the lowest terrace. The patterns, shown by differential growth in crops, particularly in dry seasons, reflect differences in depth of soil over gravel. Here, Sutton series is dominant with Ludford soils occurring where frost-wedge casts penetrate the gravel and give a deeper soil. Milton soils are present, particularly where the gravels and overlying soils are affected by groundwater. Near Northampton, Dodford soils are common over gravels containing ironstone. Along the valleys of the Great Ouse and Ivel in Bedfordshire, Sacrewell soils occur where gravel is at shallow depth.

In the upper Stour valley, this association is found on river terrace deposits where Sutton, Rougemont, Badsey, Ludford and Maplestead soil, occur in no predictable pattern, Lashbrook soils are also found in patches. Milton and Astrop soils are developed in thick Head on slopes between terraces, but where the Head thins over underlying clay the slowly permeable St Lawrence and Oxpasture series occur. Kelmscot and Isle Abbotts series are present, particularly where the gravels and overlying soils are affected by groundwater.

In the Thames valley near Abingdon the association occurs on all the river terraces, but upstream it occurs on progressively higher terraces until near Lechlade it is on the fourth and highest only. On the terraces Sutton, Rougemont, Badsey, Maplestead and Ludford soils all occur with Badsey series particularly common where the soil thins over gravel. Patterned ground is often evident by differential crop growth, particularly in dry seasons, on all except the lowest terrace. The patterns reflect differences in depth of soil over gravel. Buried archaeological sites, which give similar crop patterns, are also common in the Thames valley. Well drained Lashbrook soils are found in patches locally. Milton and Astrop soils are developed in thick Head on slopes between terraces, but where the Head thins over the underlying clay, slowly permeable St Lawrence and Oxpasture soils occur. Kelmscot and Isle Abbotts series are present, particularly where the gravels and overlying soils are affected by groundwater.


Soil Water Regime

Sutton, Rougemont and Badsey series are well drained, permeable soils through which excess winter rainfall drains rapidly (Wetness Class I). Sutton and Rougemont soils have moderate reserves of available water and are slightly or moderately droughty for cereals and potatoes and very droughty for grass. Production of all crops is limited by droughtiness in Badsey soils, severely so in dry seasons.

Cropping and Land Use

These soils are easy to work and provide good arable land with cereals and vegetables, chiefly potatoes, as the main crops. In normal years there is plenty of opportunity in spring and autumn for working in good conditions and there is relatively little risk of damage to soil structure. These soils drain rapidly so there are also times during the winter when, after a dry period of about a week, the soil is workable. The principal soils are well suited to direct drilling. Badsey soils are calcareous but Sutton and Rougemont soils need occasional liming; potassium levels may be low. Droughtiness imposes limitations on both arable and grass crops so irrigation is often necessary for successful vegetable production, though the amount needed varies widely with crop, year and with depth of soil within the field. There is little risk of poaching but grass production is restricted in summer by drought.

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0571u SUTTON 1