South West England Soil Discussion Group

South West England Soil Discussion Group

The South West England Soils Discussion Group (SWESDiG) was set up in 1975 to stimulate interest in the study of soils in the Region, and provide a means whereby individuals from different institutions and fields of activity can meet to discuss problems and topics of common interest.Membership of the group is free. Meetings are organised on an ad hoc basis on selected themes relevant to the wider study of soils, land use and the environment in the South West.

Group Chair: Dr Martin Blackwell

Group Secretary: Dr Rob Parkinson

Contact SWESDiG

Latest posts

SWESDG Autumn Meeting 2017 - Soil Structure

Event date: 
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Event venue: 
Seavingtons Village Hall, Water St, Seavington, Ilminster, South Somerset TA19 0QH, United Kingdom
Event description: 

The day will focus on the importance of good soil structure and use the Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure (VESS) methodology in the field.

10am – Arrival and coffee, ready to start by 10:30am

The morning will comprise presentations about soils of the area, VESS methodology and the importance of good soil structure

Lunch will be provided

In the afternoon we will visit Hurcott Farm to use the VESS method in the field

4pm – Depart

Bring sturdy footwear and clothes suitable for an afternoon outside. You may also wish to bring a spade.

BSSS Members may attend the meeting FREE of charge whilst Non Members will be required to pay £10.00.

Please note that everyone attending the meeting will need to register in advance to enable us to accurately organise catering and seating.

ONLINE BOOKING IS NOW CLOSED FOR THIS MEETING. However if you wish to attend please email as soon as possible.

Meet a soil scientist at Open Farm Sunday - members needed!

Meet a soil scientist at Open Farm Sunday!

The Society is looking for members to team up with farmers this year for Open Farm Sunday (OFS) to bring soil science to the farm. OFS is an annual open doors, family friendly event for the general public to find out about food and farming. The event is on Sunday 11 June 2017 and participating farms are listed on the OFS website

SEESOIL event 22 March - last chance to register!

Just a reminder that registration will be closing tomorrow for the SEESOIL event at Kew Gardens on 22 March. It is free for society members and £10 for non-members.

For further details and registration:

Hope to see you there!

Kind regards,
Jack Hannam (SEESOIL Chair)

You can follow SEESOIL on twitter @sesoil for updates

World Soil Day #soilchat - London pub meet-up on 5 Dec

To celebrate World Soil Day SEESOIL are hosting a London pub meet up for a #soilchat. Do come along to meet others over a drink and we’ll provide the snacks. This is an informal social event to talk about what soil means to us and how we can communicate this on World Soil Day. But essentially you can talk about anything you like! We will be upstairs in the Garden Room of The Somers Town Coffee House The pub is located between Euston and Kings Cross.

SWESDG programme - Peat Resources of the Somerset Moors

Event date: 
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Event venue: 
Avalon Marshes Centre, Glastonbury, United Kingdom
Event description: 

The meeting will be held at the Avalon Marshes Centre with arrival from 10am.

Following coffee and welcome, several participants from key organisations will give short presentations on peat issues from their perspective: nature conservation, farming, wetland archaeology, peat for horticulture and peat as waste material

This will be followed by a late-morning walk to Shapwick Heath to study peat soils and water level management.

In the afternoon there is a tour of Godwin's Peat Works and finally a visit to the peat bog restoration project at Westhay Moor.

Cost: Free to BSSS members, £10 for non-members - includes refreshments and buffet lunch.

Booking is now closed.

Event flyer: 

SWESDG June Field Meeting - Soils, Land Use and Habitat Management, North East Dartmoor

Event date: 
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Event venue: 
Langaford Farm, Moretonhampstead, Devon, UK
Event description: 

Meeting Organisers: Dr Tim Harrod and Dr Rob Parkinson

Host: Langaford Farm Charitable Trust       Time: 10.00 – 16.00

Theme for the day:

To celebrate the recent 2015 publication of Tim Harrod’s epic soil map of North East Dartmoor, this event will allow detailed discussion of the soils, land use and habitat management of key soil types found at Langaford Farm that are typical of the eastern fringes of Dartmoor.  Historical patterns of land use and the development of distinctive moorland edge grazed landscapes and woodlands will be related to variations on soil types.

Refreshments and a light lunch are included.

For full details please see the attached programme. 

The meeting is FREE for BSSS Members and £10 for Non-members

Booking is now closed for this event.



Event flyer: 

UK PlantSci 2016

Event date: 
Monday, April 11, 2016 to Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Event venue: 
John Innes Centre, Norwich
Event description: 

UK PlantSci is the annual conference of the UK Plant Sciences Federation, established to showcase the wealth of plant sciences in the UK.

This meeting provides a unique forum for all those interested in the plant sciences to come together and share their knowledge and expertise. Delegates will have the opportunity to interact with stakeholders, industry and different research communities.

Session topics include:

  • Heterosis and epigenetics
  • Abiotic stress
  • Ecosystem resilience
  • The plant microbiome
  • The molecular basis of signal transduction in plants
  • Plant signalling
  • Future generations


Keynote speakers:

Giles Oldroyd, John Innes Centre, will give the opening keynote presentation

Philip Poole, University of Oxford will present a keynote lecture on The plant microbiome and the importance of the Rhizosphere to plant growth and resilience.


For more details or to register, visit




Event date: 
Monday, September 12, 2016 to Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Event venue: 
Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Event description: 

Contaminated sites have become one of the largest global problems of the present time. This has also placed them high on the agenda of the European Union.

This conference aims to provide space for discussion, knowledge exchange among experts from government/non-government organizations, public and private sector, praxis, science and academic sector.

The main topics of the conference are legislation strategies, policies, research methodologies, risks analysis, remediation methods and technologies, as well as awareness in contaminated sites management.

The programme is available at:


There is no registration fee for pre-registered participants: Coffee breaks, lunches, Gala dinner, congress kit, scientific programme and conference proceedings are included free of charge.

Please register in advance at    Note: Accommodation and travel expenses are not covered by organisers.


The call for papers is now open - the deadline for abstracts is 15 April:


Help wanted in Bristol on Saturday 11th July 2015

On Saturday 11th July The Society is supporting an event at Bristol’s flagship environmental centre, Create, on the Cumberland Basin.  The day is part of a series of Soil Saturdays covering a number of topics, with exhibitions of soil-inspired art, artists in residence and sharing of local food.   

We are setting up a stand to give visitors (adults and children alike) a hands-on experience of different soils, from different soil textures to learning how to build their own wormery and the importance of soils in supporting life on spaceship earth.