Soil Layer Thickness

The map covers Great Britain and integrates geology and soil characteristics at a scale of 1:50 000 (visible at higher zoom levels), with a 1km resolution version available for regional overview.

The simplified texture classifications are derived from measured soil thicknesses taken from archive borehole records held by BGS (see the BGS Soil-sample: Depth dataset in the map viewer). The thicknesses are compared and collated with the expected engineering strength classification of their underlying soil-parent material type to show a map of distribution of the classes; expert judgment has been used to estimate a thickness class where borehole data is not available). Note that the map uses combinations of terms that refer to: Deep soils, Intermediate soils and Shallow soils (see table below).

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]".

As a rule of thumb, these categories are based on the ability to manually dig (with a spade) without being hindered by a substrate that is too strong to excavate (i.e. layers of solid rock, dense gravel, or very stiff clays). An example of a deep soil would be one developed over unconsolidated, clayey Quaternary deposits, and an example of a shallow soil would be one found in areas underlain by chalk or limestone. Users should note that land management practices and natural weathering and accumulation (or erosion) processes of soil materials play a significant role in controlling soil thickness (it has not been possible to factor in these influences within the scope of this dataset) and so the classes shown in this dataset should be regarded as 'indicative'.

This dataset can be viewed online in this portal for non-commercial and innovation purposes.

CaCO<sub>3</sub> map legend

Map legend

Key Soil Thickness(mySOIL) Definition
DEEP A thick soil profile is likely. Soil (and any underlying parent Material) should be easily dug to a depth of more than 1m.
DEEP-INTERMEDIATE The soil profile may vary from thick to intermediate. Soil (and any underlying Parent Material) can be dug to a depth of 1m and possibly more in some places.
INTERMEDIATE A 'typical' soil profile is likely. Soil (and any underlying Parent Material) can be dug to a depth of 1m.
INTERMEDIATE-SHALLOW The soil profile may vary from thin to intermediate. The underlying Parent Material is potentially difficult to dig at depths greater than 0.5m.
SHALLOW A thin soil profile is likely. Digging the Parent Material beneath the soil will be extremely difficult at a depth of 0.5m (or possibly less).
NOT APPLICABLE No data applicable (typically inland water bodies).
Title Simplified Soil Thickness (depth)
Source British Geological Survey
Enquiries BGS Enquiries
Scale(s) 1:50 000 and 1km grid resolution
Coverage Great Britain
Format GIS polygon data. (ESRI, MapInfo, others available by request)
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.
The 1 km grid data is free for use under Open Government Licence terms.
Uses Local to national level use
Downloads Free 1km grid data and sample 1:50 000 scale data
Map Viewer View in UKSO Map Viewer
WMS link
Images High resolution | low resolution