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Soil Data

Products available:

National Soil Map

The National Soil Map is the flagship soil data product from Cranfield University.

It is a 1:250,000 scale map of England and Wales, showing the locations of the 297 distinct soil associations wherever they occur within the countries. The types of soil are described, along with attributes such as the soil fertility and drainage. General descriptions of the underlying geology and typical cropping and landuse are also provided. A URL link to extremely detailed supplementary soil information is also included.

Who and what is this useful for?

  • The National Soil Map is useful for anyone wanting soil information at 1:250,000 scale.
  • The National Soil Map is essential for evidence-based land management and planning across England and Wales.
  • The National Soil Map is being used by most of the major water companies, many universities, consultants and governmental bodies.

Formats: ESRI shapefile(.shp), Mapinfo (.tab)


Enhanced Natural Perils data

Cranfield University have developed an easy-to-use and unique suite of geohazard datasets, the Natural Perils Directory (NPD), to assist the insurance market with risk-management decisions on multi-hazard subsidence, flood and wind. Their data is derived from the UK Government recognised National Soils Data and Land Information System (LandIS).

The enhanced Natural Perils Dataset benefits from the addition of highly detailed and accurate tree location data uniquely provided by Bluesky International. Including all trees in England and Wales over 3 metres in height, it enables an unprecedented level of risk assessment for subsidence.

Formats: ESRI shapefile(.shp), Mapinfo (.tab)


Shrink Swell

Many people don't know how much the soil can move. This interpreted 6 class soil map classifies the soils into those that can shrink (subside) and swell throughout the year. Soil related ground movement can lead to pipe failures, road cracking and house subsidence.

Who and what is this useful for?

  • local councils - road maintenance
  • utilities - pipe replacement and performance modelling
  • arboraculturalists and garden designers

Formats: ESRI shapefile(.shp), Mapinfo (.tab)


Hydrology of Soil Types

The Hydrology of Soil Types (HOST) classification describes the dominant pathways of water movement through the soil and, where appropriate, the underlying substrate. Eleven drainage models are defined according to the permeability of the soil and its substrate and the depth to a groundwater table, where one is present. These are further subdivided into 29 HOST classes to which all soil series have been assigned. These classes identify the way soil water flows are partitioned, with water passing over, laterally through, or vertically down the soil column. Analysis of the river hydrograph and the extent of soil series for several hundred gauged catchments allowed mean values for catchment hydrological variables to be identified for each HOST class.

Who and what is this useful for?

The HOST classification is widely used to predict river flows and the frequency and severity of flood events and also to model the behaviour of diffuse pollutants.

Formats: ESRI shapefile (.shp), Mapinfor (.tab)

Carbon Stock

The Carbon Stock map is derived from the National Soil Map. It provides users with a summary of the stock of organic carbon by unit area in the soils across England and Wales at three layer depths 0-30 cm, 30-100 cm and 100-150 cm.

The organic carbon data varies under different landuses and so the values for each soil series under arable, permanent grass and other landuses (mostly woodland or rough grazing) were seperated.

To interpret this on a soil association basis the mean carbon values for each component series was calculated, weighted by the proportion of each series in the soil association under the three landuses.

The National Soil Map was then intersected with a landuse map dissolved from the Corine land cover 2000 map to just the 3 landuse classes required. Each polygon on the map was then linked to the carbon data with the relevant soil map unit and landuse combination.

Who and what is this useful for?

Carbon Stock is useful for anyone wanting information on the expected carbon stock in the soils of England and Wales. This data is used as part of the Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

Formats: ESRI shapefile (.shp), Mapinfo (.tab)

Auger Bores

The Soil Survey of England and Wales surveyed many sites during its active years between 1939 and 1987. 

During the National Soil mapping programme a large number of auger borings were taken and a standardised form was devised to capture this information. The field description cards (Ragg User Friendly Forms, or RUFFs) were designed to cater for semi-detailed, detailed and ad hoc surveys.

The RUFF form was updated after the National Map programme and subsequent mapping was carried out using the new form. The ID number of the records indicates which card was used (A1 or A2 respectively).

LandIS contains more than 150,000 auger bores (representing >450,000 horizons) made during various mapping projects.

Who and what is this useful for?

The information derived from the auger bores was used by soil surveyors in the field to validate their conceptual model of how the soils varied in the landscape during the various mapping projects. For others the fact that the data represents actual surveyed information at a location provides an invaluable insight into the soil. This is particularly useful for engineering and land development projects.

Formats: ESRI shapefile (.shp), Mapinfor (.tab)