Soil maps

You can visualise soil information of Great Britain from our large-scale datasets within the:
Soil Portal map viewer

Find out more about the development of soil-related mapping within NERC from the surveying and modelling projects shown below. Click on the gallery links below to view maps of the information we hold.

We encourage non-commercial users to combine these research materials with their own maps and data.

Contact us if you create something new and innovative that could benefit others: BGS enquiries  or  CEH enquiries.

Countryside Survey topsoil maps

Map of mean PH in soils (0-15cm depth) by Broad Habitat in 2007 using data from the Countryside Survey and Land Cover Map.

Mapped soil variables based on top soil data to 15 cm depth from the Countryside Survey using kriging and habitat mapping to establish Great Britain-wide coverage. All soil data from the Countryside Survey for 2007. For further information see Emmett et. al. 2007 Soils Report .

View the Countryside Survey maps gallery

or view within the Soil Portal map viewer

In the habitat mapping approach, mean estimates of soil variables across habitats were mapped onto Great Britain (GB) using Land Cover Map at 1 km2 resolution. We spatially identify each habitat over GB and apply the corresponding estimated mean to this spatial layer. Land cover not sampled in the Countryside Survey has been left blank. See Countryside Survey UK report for a full list of habitats used.

For the kriged maps, data was interpolated onto a 1 km GB grid. The data were normal score transformed to convert the distribution to Gaussian, to which simple kriging was applied to interpolate from the Countryside Survey squares to the GB grid. Interpolated data was back-transformed to the original scale to produce the map.

Advanced soil geochemical atlas of England and Wales

Map of soil Selenium concentration (mg/Kg)

These maps display interpolated geochemical data of the re-analysed National Soil Inventory (NSI) samples. In a joint project between the BGS and Rothamsted Research, some 5700 surface soil samples (0-15cm), collected across England and Wales, were reanalysed for 53 major and trace elements (e.g. Al, Ca, Rb, La, Se etc.). The atlas is now available online for viewing as an e-book and downloading as a pdf.

View the National Soil Inventory (NSI) maps gallery

BGS Parent Material Model of Great Britain

Map of European Soil Bureau classes of parent-material.

The BGS Soil Parent Material Model looks at the upper 2–3 metres of the geology beneath our feet incorporating the weathered rocks or deposits from, and within which soil has formed. In the UK, these materials frequently provide the basic foundations of soil, influencing texture, structure, drainage and chemistry.

The map covers Great Britain and integrates geology and soil characteristics at a scale of 1:50 000.

Explore the parent materials of Britain in the Soil Portal map viewer and view a subset of the information available from the full Parent Material Map including lithology, European Soil Bureau parent material class, and generalised soil texture.

The full parent material dataset is available from the BGS and contains additional information including engineering and hydrogeological classifications, as well as further details of material properties such as texture, colour and structure.

View the Parent Material Model gallery

or view within the Soil Portal map viewer

Rural and urban soil maps

The principal means of presenting inorganic analytical data for rural soils are interpolated geochemical images published at various scales. Mapped information for a large range of elements in surface and profile soils across rural and urban UK can be downloaded from:

Environmental Geochemical Atlas of Central and Eastern England

Map of G-Base soil sample acidity (pH) for Eastern England.

Soil is one of three sample media published in this online geochemical atlas. It provides digital soil geochemical maps of ten environmentally sensitive elements, including Arsenic (As), Barium (Ba), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Lead (Pb), Manganese (Mn), Nickel (Ni), Selenium (Se), Uranium (U), Zinc (Zn) and acidity (pH).

Download Central and Eastern England Atlas 40MB pdf

Download the latest version of Adobe Reader

To view and find site locations of individual soil samples, urban or rural, visit BGS Geoindex

For publications and reports on soil geochemistry visit NORA



BGS logo CEH logo

Latest News

The NERC Soil Portal is being enhanced to include many other partners to become the UK Soil Observatory (UKSO). The UKSO launch will be on the 10th April in London. To find out more please contact

This site is hosted by the British Geological Survey but responsibility for the content of the site lies with the NERC Soil Portal not with the British Geological Survey, Questions, suggestions or comments regarding the contents of this site should be directed to Russell Lawley.