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National Forest Estate Soils

Tom Kenny

This page is designed to explain the ‘National Forest Estate Soil’ data hosted in our map-based platform Land Explorer. This data shows soil data for land owned by the Forestry Commission.

What is this data?

This Forestry Commission dataset provides detailed soil information for the Public Forest Estate within all of Scotland and parts of England and Wales. This soil classification system was created by foresters specifically to serve silviculture, and thus distinguishes soil on the basis of drainage and nutrition. It covers around half the land owned by the Forestry Commission.

Why is it useful?

This data is useful for anyone interested in engaging with Forestry Commission owned land. It might also be interesting for people who are interested in learning more about the diversity of soil in forests.


The Forestry Commission soil classification system (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.

How do I use/ interact with it?

First you need to find an area that is covered by this data. To give it a go, why not try searching for Brandon in the East of England, which is near a large Forestry Commission site.

What are its limitations?

The main limitation is that this doesn’t cover a large proportion of the UK. The Forestry Commission is a large landowner, but this only covers about half their land, meaning about 4% of the UK in total. In future versions we hope to upload more data on woodlands, covering a greater proportion of the total wooded area of the UK.

License Info:

  • License: “Contains, or is based on, information supplied by the Forestry Commission. © Crown copyright and database right 2016 Ordnance Survey [100021242]”
  • Information provider: Forestry Commission and Natural Resources Wales
  • Title of the information resource: National Forest Estate Soil
  • Link to the information:

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