Soil Challenge Weeks 2023

Pasture for Life held the first of two Soil Challenge Weeks in 2023 which commenced on Monday 17th April. The second Soil Challenge Week will be held in October. It’s a great opportunity to take stock of what’s happening under the ground on your farm and join our in-person and online events to learn more about the different soil health tests you can use to monitor soil health.

Soil Challenge Week April 2023

Pasture for Life collaborated with Soilmentor to deliver events for members around the country to assess and improve soil health using the Soilmentor app. Pasture for Life members get £80 off the Soilmentor regen subscription. (Contact:

We held events in: mid Wales, the Chilterns, Buckinhamshire, Kent, Dorset, Cornwall, County Durham and Shropshire. There was great discussion and questions from members. We also held events online, you can watch an introduction to Soil Challenge Week here.

We went through 4 soil health regen indicator tests:

  1. Earthworms are an indicator of biological life in the soil, large and small. Easily visible and easy to count, higher numbers can be an indicator of improved soil health. Learn more about this assessment here.
  2. Legume nodulation assessment can give an inundation of how active the legumes in the sward are, and whether they are fixing nitrogen in the soil. Learn more about this assessment here.
  3. Rhizosheaths are coatings of soil particles that cling to plant roots, making roots brown instead of white. They are a sign of biological/microbial activity in the rhizosphere (root zone) and indicate the formation of good soil structure. Learn more about this assessment here.
  4. Deep roots help keep soils healthy, enabling nutrient exchange and increasing drought resilience. Root growth can be limited by compaction, abrupt changes in texture or pH, nutrient deficiencies, low oxygen levels or a high or fluctuating water table. Learn more about this assessment here.


Aberduhonw Farm, Builth Wells

We were in mid Wales, looking at some lovely soils near the River Wye, led by our Severn & Wye facilitator Ruth Pullan, who took us through a hands-on session learning some basic methods to evaluate and monitor soil health.


Gutchpool Farm, Dorset

Towards the end of Soil Challenge Week we were at Gutchpool Farm in Dorset, a huge thank you to our member Rachel Hall for hosting us. Rachel has implemented mob grazing with sheep and planting herbal leys to improve her heavy clay soil and increase biodiversity above and below ground. We spent the morning looking at soil and discussing the tools Rachel has used to improve her heavy clay and comparing samples from different fields across the farm. We looked at some simple tests and possible solutions to soil issues.

Look forward to seeing members in October for Soil Challenge Week #2!

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