Soil Thickness Depth Point data (Borehole-based)

The BGS holds over a million borehole records and these can be viewed online in our dedicated borehole viewer. Coverage across Great Britain is clustered (generally within urban centres and corridors). This map only shows borehole data that has been captured to date (additional data may exist).

Boreholes are drilled for assessing ground conditions for construction, water and mineral resources. They are generally not drilled for the purpose of recording soil information. However, many boreholes note the depth of deposits classed as 'Topsoil' and so BGS has started to compile a dataset of reported 'Topsoil' depths. Most records suggest that the driller has identified a generic 'Topsoil' layer. Some records provide further details that indicate the topsoil layer has differing properties, or is not solely a topsoil layer but a combination of soil and other materials (e.g. parent material, peat and artificial ground). Users should therefore be aware that the term 'topsoil', as used in borehole records, should be regarded as a very simple description of what soil-scientists might regard as a combination of O, A, E and possibly B horizons.

These data are made available under the Open Government Licence, subject to the following acknowledgement accompanying the reproduced BGS materials: "Contains British Geological Survey materials © NERC [year]".

This data should be treated as qualitative and untested.

Soil Thickness Samples Point data (Borehole-based) map legend

Map legend

Key Soil Thickness (m)
0.0 - 0.1
0.1 - 0.2
0.2 - 0.3
0.3 - 0.4
0.4 - 0.5
0.5 - 0.6
0.6 - 0.7
0.7 - 1.0
1.0 - 1.5
1.5 - 2.0
Title Soil Thickness Samples
Source British Geological Survey
Enquiries BGS Enquiries
Scale(s) Point data (Borehole-based)
Coverage Great Britain
Format GIS point data
Price 30p per km2 for commercial use of 1:50 000 scale data. Subject to licence fee and data preparation fee. More information about licensing data.
Uses Local to regional level use
Downloads None at this time (this data is unpublished, untested and provided for illustrative purposes only)
Map Viewer View in UKSO Map Viewer
WMS link
Images High resolution | low resolution

The following data is shown for each borehole location:

Term used Definition
SOBI-ID The BGS Borehole identification code e.g. TQ38SW299a
Depth_Top The depth to the base of the topsoil (where this value is not 0.0, users should be aware that the driller has identified another material, usually artificial deposits, overlying the soil)
Depth_Base The depth to the top of the topsoil


Topsoil The driller has identified a generic ‘topsoil’ layer
Probable buried soil The top depth of the layer, or description of the topsoil layer, suggests that the soil has been buried under more recent deposits
Probable soil and made ground The description of the layer suggests that the soil incorporates anthropogenic material
Probable soil and parent The description of the layer suggests that the base of soil has not been identified and the depth interval includes some geological deposits (parent materials)
Probable soil and peat The description of the layer suggests that the base of soil has not been identified and the depth interval includes some peat deposits.