3 Terrestrial raw soils

Terrestrial raw soils are at a very early stage of formation and differ very little from their parent material which is recently formed and well-drained. Soil development is limited to the incorporation of some organic matter in the top few centimetres. The commonest examples are the raw sands on sand flats and dunes.

Location: Newborough Warren, Anglesey – access signposted from the A4080 in Newborough village via forestry toll road to car park near beach at SH405633. Walk along the beach and view this soil type on the exposed sand dunes. A range of soil types can be found among the dunes and forest, depending on the age of the dune, the degree of stabilisation by vegetation and the height above the water table. Examining the eroded hollows or coastline among the sand dunes will reveal the following soil types, though the shifting nature of the area means that no specific sites can be defined:

  • terrestrial raw sands (illustrated), with little or no evidence of soil formation, on the youngest dunes with very little vegetation;
  • sand rankers where there is a topsoil with organic matter less than 30cm thick but no other soil features:
  • brown sands where there is a full soil profile due to well-established vegetation.
  • Typical sandy gley where the dune has been eroded down to the water table and the sand is greyish and mottled beneath an organic-rich topsoil.

Much of this area is part of a National Nature Reserve and visitors are requested to keep to the marked paths to avoid damage to the fragile dune ecosystems

Altitude 2m; rainfall 945mm, FCD 194, AT0 1470, MDw 90mm MDp 78mm.

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