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Soil Conditions

Luckily the Wantage area has been covered by one of the more thorough soil surveys. Full details can be found in "Memoirs of the Soil Survey of Great Britain - The Wantage and Abingdon District".

A small section of the soil area map is shown below.


Our property used to be part of the Ham Estate. You can see the Ham on the south west corner of Wantage. Our house and the vineyard lie just above and to the right of the Ha marking next to The Ham. This shows the vineyard to be on Harwell Series soil type. This is an outcrop of the Upper Greensand shelf.

The Harwell Series is classified as "brown earth" (clever people these soil classifiers). The parent material is siltstone, fine sandstone or silty marl (malmstone and malm of the Upper Greensand).

The profile of the Harwell Series is as follows:-

Depth(cm) Description
0-19 Dark greyish brown, slightly stony (small and medium subangular and tabular malmstone fragments); friable loam; weak medium subangular blocky structure; a few fine pores; common fine fibrous roots; narrow even boundary
19-36 Greyish brown slightly stony (stones as above) firm loam; moderate medium subangular blocky structures; with pre faces stained dark greyish brown; abundant fine pores; common fine fibrous roots; vertical earthworm channels filled with topsoil; narrow irregular boundary
36-62 Olive slightly stony (stones as above) firm clay loam with a few fine olive mottles; strong medium prismatic structure with very dark greyish brown coated ped faces; abundant fine pores; common fine fibrous roots concentrated in earthworm channels which are infilled with topsoil; merging boundary
62-90 Olive extremely stony (stones as above and pale olive); firm clay loam with light olive-brown patches 5-20mm diam associated with malmstone fragments; weak medium subangular blocky structure often with a platy tendency; abundant fine pores; common fine fibrous roots; earthworm channels infilled with topsoil; merging boundary.
90-110+ Malmstone in situ.

So my interpretation of this is the vines will have three feet of clay loam followed by limestone type rock. I hope they enjoy it.

I never did get round to checking pH, K, etc etc. Sorry vines - do your best.

    © McLeod 2007