Soil Health Pioneers

Living labs, Lighthouse projects and Soil Assessment Networks

Around the world, farmers and scientists are pioneering new and highly innovative soil management techniques that reap benefits for both their crop yield and the broader environment.  Examples of these methods can be found throughout the United Kingdom, indeed British growers and researchers are at the cutting edge of ‘regenerative’ farming techniques.  Much of this work can be witnessed first-hand by the general public at research and demonstration facilities across the country - beacons of regional good practice where the science and practice of pioneering soil management – in farm, city or woodland - can meet.

Examples of these research and demonstration facilities include:

  • Living Laboratory (LL) - locations where new innovative techniques are being developed for soil health
  • Lighthouse (LH) - locations and activities where best soil-health practice is being showcased
  • Soil Assessment Network – initiatives and organisations testing and developing new approaches to soil health assessment in experimental or ‘real world’ situations.

To find one near you, see our map below. We are just starting this work so expect many more to be added soon.

Our map shows pioneering soil health activities across the UK. We have coded them to one of five land use/habitat types. Some activities take place in multiple locations. In this case only the main site or head office may be shown. Click on a marker to view a summary of each activity. Each one links to a page with more details, including contact information.

Please note: locations, particularly in rural areas, are approximate.

Click on an icon near you to find out more about a site.


Land use type:

  • Lowland
  • Upland
  • Mixed
  • Woodland
  • Urban

To advertise your own location complete our online form. It takes just 10 minutes to complete.

EU Lighthouses and Living Labs

Following the recent news from the UK Government that the UK will be able to continue engaging in EU research activities (i.e. Horizon Europe), you may also wish to suggest your site as a Lighthouse (LH) or Living Lab (LL) to the EU Mission for Soil and Food. The submission form is a Microsoft Word document. The forms are very similar as the EU form was based on our uksoils form.

This is an informal collation being put together by the EU Mission on Soil Health and Food to identify where and how many such facilities may occur across the EU, as many future research activities funded by the EU in support of the mission would be focussed in these facilities. A formal decision surrounding the Mission will be made in September 2021. If the Mission is approved by the Commission a formal call would be made for applications for regional LH and LLs.   

We encourage you to apply to list your site on both the EU and uksoils maps as the EU Mission map of LH and LL is not currently available online and our uksoils map provides online information about the sites with  contact points to increase outreach and communication.

Please note:
A separate screening initiative to explore the number and location of Agroecology Living Labs and Research Infrastructures closed in December 2020. Note the difference that the Mission on Soil Health and Food LLs cover all land cover types (farmland, forestry, conservation land and urban systems) and activities have to have relevance for soil health.

The EU Mission for Soil Health and Food is not collecting  information on Soil Assessment Networks.

The community hub for all things soil

uksoils is a consortium of scientific, campaigning and awareness raising organisations, all with a specialist knowledge of soil health, founded by UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Sustainable Soils Alliance, Earthwatch and University of Sheffield.