Soil Types in Central England

Updated April 17, 2017

A large region of the United Kingdom, central England is home to many historic towns and a great deal of agricultural land. Much of the landscape is hilly, and there are renowned areas of great natural beauty, such as the Peak District. Central England also comprises a wide variety of soils. Some of the soil types are extremely fertile and contribute to the agricultural bounty of the region; others are much harder to cultivate.


Clay soil can be found in many counties in central England, including Warwickshire and Shropshire. Clay becomes very tacky when wet and can be manipulated easily, being quite malleable. However, according to the BBC's online gardening section, when it is dry, it becomes similar in texture to stone. This kind of soil can be hard to work, and most clay-based soils do not drain easily. During prolonged bouts of heavy rainfall, clay soil often becomes waterlogged, making it hard for anything to grow through it. If conditions are right, certain clays can enable healthy plants to thrive and grow. For example, red clay soils tend to be of a loose structure, less dense than their grey counterparts, and, as a result, they drain water slightly better.


Loamy soils are generally thought of as being ideal for agricultural purposes. A mix of sand, silt and clay, loam is found in parts of central England like the county of Leicestershire, according to the National Soil Resources Institute. The characteristics of loamy soil vary from pliable earth that can be tilled easily to solid clumps of mud. One of the most endearing traits of loamy soil is its ability to hold moisture while still effectively draining excess water. Perfect for growing a wide variety of plants and crops, loamy soil is vital to the economy of central England.


Found in central England towns like Rugby and nearby Willoughby, sandy soils are known for their harsh, gritty feel. This soil originates from weathered stones, such as granite and limestone. The gritty texture of the soil is a result of these harsh origins. Sandy soils can be easy to cultivate if there are plenty of nutrients in the soil. It warms quickly in spring, which helps in creating fertile ground. However, sandy soil also drains rapidly, becoming dehydrated quite easily, and this can cause problems when planting new seeds. Another downside to this type of rapid draining is that the nutrients can be washed away swiftly, leaving the ground starved of the right natural foods.

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About the Author

Rina Shah is a law student with degrees in psychology and business administration from the University of Texas and a Master of Science from the London School of Economics. She has worked in law, nonprofits, information technology and teaching. Shah has over five years of experience writing for various purposes on the job and more than 10 years of academic writing.