Welsh Soil Discussion Group

Welsh Soil Discussion Group

The Welsh Soils Discussion Group was set up to encourage discussion and interest in the study of soils in Wales. The group provides an oportunity for British Society of Soil Science members and others with an interest in soil from different institutions/ industry to meet and discuss problems and topics of common interest.

Group Chair: Ian Rugg

Group Secetary: Mrs Sarah Coe

Group Treasurer: Vacancy

Contact WSDG

Latest posts

June 2019: An Update from Dan

I am writing this on one of those days when the skies decide to ‘spring clean’ the Earth. Strong gusts are vacuuming the dust from the country lanes that run like skirting boards around green carpets of cropland and pasture. Clouds unite to form impenetrable ceilings of lead from which millions of droplets are preparing to polish the rooftops. As I write, my train carriage window is becoming freckled with a shimmering galaxy of watery stars. Is there anything more inspiring than a clouded day?

"Soils and the Environment" - Annual Workshop of the Midlands Soil Discussion Group

Event date: 
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Event venue: 
Allerton Project site, Loddington, LE7 9XE, United Kingdom
Event description: 

The theme of this meeting is "Soils and the Environment" which is of critical importance for protecting environmental quality, food security, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation. 

The annual meeting of the MSDG group will examine the link between soil management, the environment and habitat quality through a tour of the ongoing sustainable soil management and conservation techniques being employed at the Allerton Project farm site. The morning tour will be followed by selected presentations showcasing the latest research in soil science.

The day will run between 9.30am and 1.45pm. The agenda can be viewed here

Attendance (including lunch and refreshments) is:

FREE for BSSS Members

£15 for Student NON-Members *  Proof of student status will be required at time of booking - please see payment page.

£20 for NON-Members 


ALL attendees must register to allow us to plan logistics and catering accurately.

Event flyer: 

Welsh Soils Discussion Group Spring Meeting: Soil – the Essentials

Event date: 
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Event venue: 
Stapledon Suite, Gogerddan Campus, IBERS, Penrhyncoch, Aberystwyth, SY23 3EE, Wales
Event description: 

The Welsh Soils Discussion Group are pleased to announce their Spring Meeting: Soils - the Essentials, in Aberystwyth on Wednesday 3 April.  

Directions and a map can be found at http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/maps-travel/maps/buildings/ibers-gogerddan#

The day will provide an introduction to soils and the issues around them.

The day is aimed at persons for whom (a) soil is a part of their job but not a major component or (b) people with a general interest in soil.

The aim is to provide a baseline level of knowledge and to encourage discussion.

We would really like you to join us for an interesting and enjoyable day (see details below) so please sign up and save the date!


10.00                 Arrival, sign in and refreshments

10.30                 Welcome and introductions from Ian Rugg (WSDG Chair)

10.40 – 11.40    What soils are by Ian Rugg (Welsh Government)  

                          Threats to soil in Wales (and interpreting headlines) by Jack Hannam (Cranfield University)

                          Opportunity for Discussion and questions

11.40 – 13.00    Soils and Farming by Paul Newell-Price (ADAS)

                          Soils and Ecology by John Scullion (Aberystwyth University)

                          Opportunity for Discussion and questions

13.00                Lunch: Please bring your own lunch - tea and coffee will be provided

13.30 - 14.30    Soils and Planning by James Cooke (Welsh Government)

                          Soil Mapping and Earth Observation – the art of the possible by Katie Medcalf (Environment Systems)

                          Opportunity for Discussion and questions

14.30 - 15.30     Open Discussions

15.30                 Close

BASIS CPD points are being sought for this meeting and will be advised shortly.


  • The event is FREE for BSSS Members
  • Non-members are requested to pay a nominal fee of £10

Refreshments will be provided, however please bring your own lunch.  


Agricultural Land Classification Course 2019

Event date: 
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 to Thursday, November 21, 2019
Event venue: 
Arden Hotel, Coventry Road, Bickenhill, Solihull B92 0EH, United Kingdom
Event description: 

Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) has a formal role in the planning system in England and Wales and is designed to prevent the loss of our best and most versatile land in line with the principles of sustainable development.

This training course, designed and presented by agricultural land classification (ALC) experts from Natural England and the Welsh Government, offers a unique opportunity to learn about the background and technical basis of the current ALC guidelines.

By the end of the two day course you will learn:

  • about how the ALC system has developed over time, its underlying principles and its role within the planning system - the WHAT, WHY and WHEN of ALC
  • all the details of how land is graded - the HOW of ALC
  • what a report should contain in order to be verified by the Natural England and Welsh Government statutory consultees on planning applications involving soils and agriculture
  • how to present ALC results as an expert witness

As well as taught sessions, you will carry out a group ALC grading desk exercise to apply what you have learned.

The course is designed for:

  • soil scientists who wish to extend their experience to (or refresh an existing awareness of) Agricultural Land Classification,
  • those commissioning ALC surveys from specialists, and
  • planners reviewing ALC reports.

Completion of the course is not a certificate of competence to undertake ALC surveys.  Competence in undertaking ALC surveys, as described in Working with Soil Document 2 (below), will require subsequent relevant survey experience. 

For non soil specialists, prior or subsequent attendance on Working with Soil course Exposing and Describing a Soil Profile or an equivalent course, is strongly recommended to enable you to get the most out of this course.

The two-day ALC course will take place at The Arden Hotel in Solihull, close to the NEC. Please note overnight accommodation is not included.

This course qualifies for CPD points for professional practice schemes. BASIS CPD has been awarded at a total of 10 points (6 Environment + 4 Personal Development)


Please read our Event Cancellation Policy carefully - see below.