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Report of the Land Utilisation Survey (1943):
 
The Wolds

    From the rivers Soar and Wreake the land rises to the undulating Burton, Seagrave and Dalby Wolds, reaching its maximum height at Six Hills (445 feet O.D.) where the Fosse Way meets the roughhly V-shaped incision of Nottinghamshire into the north of Leicestershire [This 'incision' – part of Willoughby parish – was 'tidied up' in the 1974 boundary changes.]

    This region is essentially transitional; it is in some ways an extension of the Belvoir grass country, but is also the meeting place of the western and eastern regions. Under the boulder clay which covers the region lie Liassic and Triassic rocks, and, where the tributary valleys of the Soar and Wreake cut through the surface, Lower Lias clays and Keuper Marls are exposed – the latter in the extreme west of the region by the Soar near Loughborough. [Geological terminology has changed. 'Lower Lias' and 'Keuper Marlstones' are now part of the 'Mercia Mudstone Group'.]

    The boulder clay gives a soil affording only moderate pasture and is almost entirely in grass, particularly on the higher elevations near Six Hills. As the land falls toward the two main river valleys the arable increases and is found on the exposed Lower Lias and Keuper formations. The latter gives the best quality soil in the district, but is not very extensive. The arable fields lie on drainage slopes, the flatter land always under pasture.

    This is essentially a region of grassland farming, based on dairying and sheep rearing, with some rearing and occasional fattening of young stock. Dairying is the most important, the milk produced going partly for liquid consumption in the nearby urban areas and partly for cheese-making. There are two cheese factories – a Stilton factory in Wymeswold and a hard cheese factory at Seagrave.

    Of the arable land a large proportion is given over to root crops for cattle food and wheat is the most important of the corn crops. A small amount of sugar beet is grown on the lighter soils and sent to the Colwick factory near Nottingham. The soils arising from the boulder clay are of only moderate quality and vary from light gravels to stiff clay. It is on the former that the few arable fields under root crops on the higher elevations are found. The best soils lie on the Keuper Marl outcrops along the lateral valleys in the west of the region and there is some first-rate land near Hoton on the slopes towards the valley of the King's Brook.

Report of the Land Utilisation Survey: Vol. 57: Leicestershire
published 1943; editor R.M. Anty. p305–6

Grateful thanks to Dr John Martin for making this information available to the WHO.


Does anyone know more about the hard cheese factory at Seagrave? Presumably, like a great many cheese production facilities, it closed during milk rationing during or soon after the war. Once milk was more readily available in the 1950s the Milk Marketing Board was only interested in producing a very (sub)standard 'Cheddar'-type hard cheese.


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