This dataset contains information about soil near-surface physical and hydrological properties, vegetation observations and land use & management information across the Thames catchment (UK). It was collected during the ‘Landwise’ project’s ‘Broad-scale field survey’ which sampled 1836 location points across a total of 164 fields/land parcels. The aim of the survey was to quantify the impact of innovative land use and management on soil properties, with implications for natural flood management. The surveyed fields were selected to represent four broad land use and management classes (arable with and without grass in rotation, permanent grassland and broadleaf woodland) and five generalised soil/geology classes. Approximately eight fields were sampled for each of the twenty combinations of land use and soil/geology class. The sampled fields cover a range of traditional and innovative agricultural practices. Within each field/parcel, representative sampling locations were selected to cover the anticipated range of soil variability, including typical infield, untrafficked margins and trafficked headlands/tramlines etc. Sampling was undertaken once during the period 2018-2021. Samples were measured and analysed using a range of field and laboratory techniques (see Data Lineage).
Point data include:
1. Survey point location (British National Grid coordinates)
2. Soil quantitative measurements (near-surface: 0 – 50 mm below ground level): dry bulk density, volumetric water content, organic matter, derived porosity, derived porosity accounting for variable organic matter, particle size distribution and texture classification
3. Vegetation quantitative measurements: maximum and minimum height
4. Soil qualitative measurements: hand texture classification, aggregate stability test slaking and dispersion results, hydrochloric acid test for calcareous soil, and for a subset of locations Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure (VESS) score
5. Observations (also classified into groups): soil surface condition (e.g. slaked/unslaked/capped/poached etc.), vegetation type
Field contextual data include:
1. Land owner/manager responses to a land use and management questionnaire (primary data) including information on: crop types/rotation, cover crops, herbal leys, organic or conventional, organic amendments, lime additions, tillage, last ploughed, tramlines, buffer strips, field drainage, grass species, livestock, last grazed, stocking density, grazing weeks per year, stock out-wintering, mob or paddock grazing, woodland management, tree species, woodland age, path management, land use history, flooding history, waterlogging, water or sediment runoff
2. Classification of selected questionnaire free text responses into categories (derived secondary data)
3. General field observations (primary data) including: slope gradient and shape, surface form, surface water, surface condition (slaking, capped, ruts, wheelings, poaching etc.), soil erosion or deposition features
As agreed with the survey participants, this dataset has been anonymised by removing location specific information, such as farm and field names, along with any other personally identifiable information. As also agreed, point data location coordinates have been degraded to the nearest 1 km grid point.
The dataset was co-produced by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and Landwise Partners as part of the Landwise Natural Flood Management project, supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (Grant NE/R004668/1). The participation and assistance of the land owners and managers is gratefully acknowledged.
Publication date: 2022-11-17