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 17/12/2017

0711r BECCLES 1

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Soil and site characteristics

Slowly permeable seasonally waterlogged fine loamy over clayey soils, associated with similar clayey soils.

Geology

Chalky till

Cropping and Land Use

Winter cereals, some potatoes and grassland.

Component soil series

Subgroup Series name Percentage WRB 2006 link
7.11 BECCLES 55% Eutric Albic Luvic Stagnosols
7.12 RAGDALE 30% Eutric Luvic Stagnosols

Covers 1745 km2 in England and Wales

Soilscapes Classification

18
Slowly permeable seasonally wet slightly acid but base-rich loamy and clayey soils

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0711r BECCLES 1

Detailed Description

This Beccles association is very extensive (1761 kmĀ²) in north and central Lincolnshire, and on the central watershed of Norfolk and Suffolk. It occurs also in small patches in Leicestershire. It is generally found on level or sloping land at 10 to 150 m O.D. on wide spreads of chalky till, or on the isolated dissected remnants of a once extensive till cover, as on the Jurassic dipslope north and south of Lincoln. The association is composed mainly of Beccles series, typical stagnogley soils, and Ragdale series, pelo-stagnogley soils. The lowest horizons of both soils are grey weakly-structured clays containing chalk stones. In Beccles series the fine loamy upper horizons vary greatly in thickness and contain quartz or flint stones. Ragdale soils are clayey to the surface. Aldeby, Hanslope and Ashley series also occur.

There is some variation in the occurrence and proportions of subsidiary soils. Aldeby series is relatively extensive in Lincolnshire and Norfolk but is absent elsewhere. In Norfolk it occurs mostly on the flat crests of interfluves with Ragdale and Hanslope soils on the sloping spurs. These latter two soils are locally dominant but Aldeby, Beccles, Ragdale and Hanslope series often occur in intricate patterns. The kind of pattern and the dominant soils change gradually from crest to slope. In north Lincolnshire there are small inclusions of Salop and Crewe series where the till is partly derived from Triassic rocks. In south and central Lincolnshire, Beccles and Ragdale soils are co-dominant and there are small areas of Hanslope series on steeper slopes.


Soil Water Regime

The clayey subsoils of Beccles and Ragdale series are relatively impermeable, restricting downward water movement and causing lateral flow at shallow depth in winter. In land with adequate underdrainage the soils are seasonally waterlogged (Wetness Class III) but on undrained land they are waterlogged for longer periods in winter (Wetness Classes III and IV). Most arable crops on Beccles and Ragdale soils suffer only slight droughtiness with the exception of potatoes for which these soils are moderately droughty. Both soils are very droughty for grass.

Cropping and Land Use

Both Beccles and Ragdale soils have only a few good working days in spring and none at all in wet years, so that farmers aim to sow in autumn. In Lincolnshire and Suffolk the main crops are winter cereals with oilseed rape as a break crop, and some ley grassland. An early return to field capacity in wet years makes sugar beet and potato crops difficult to harvest. In spite of this these crops are grown locally on Beccles series. In Norfolk, besides winter cereals, some peas, beans and maize are grown but potatoes are confined to the small areas of Aldeby soils. Direct drilling of spring-sown crops is risky, but yields from direct-drilled autumn-sown crops are similar to those from conventional techniques provided topsoils are loosened every two to three years. Droughtiness restricts grass yields and limits summer grazing. The soils are also unsuitable for out-wintering stock because of the severe risk of poaching.

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0711r BECCLES 1

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 17/12/2017