Forest Estate map gallery

Forestry Commission Soils

The National Forest Estate soil maps provide detailed soil type information for parts of the Public Forest Estate within England, Scotland and Wales.

The Forestry Commission (FC) soil classification system, listed by Pyatt (1982), is the one most commonly used in forest soil survey work; by foresters, forest managers and within FC publications and was specifically constructed to serve silviculture, distinguishing soils on the basis of drainage and nutrition. This system was used within the Ecological Site Classification (ESC): a PC-based decision support system for British Forests. Inevitably, the FC soil classification system has evolved since its conception; some soil types have been removed, others introduced. A Key to the current soil codes is included in the download data, but a version is also included at the end of this document (Appendix 1). For a more detailed explanation of the FC soil classification system, see the FC Field Guide – The Identification of Soils for Forest Management (Kennedy, 2002).

These data are derived from the digitisation of historic paper-based survey maps, produced by soil surveyors. The FC soil classification system can be applied to other, non-FC soil nomenclature or used to describe soils on site. This digitisation process is complete for Scotland and captures most of the former FC land in Wales. But only parts of England have been captured so far. Other maps for England are known to exist and it is hoped they will be added soon. It is also necessary to state that soil survey data are not held for all of the FC land holdings.

Click on a gallery image to view high resolution images and discover further information about the Foresry Commission (FC) soil classification system for Great Britain.

See also