Soil instability, as measured by the dispersion ratios of the reclaimed salt-marsh soils of ca. 70 km2 of north Kent, was assessed on samples taken from 0–15, 35–50 and 70–85 cm depths from sites at the intersects of a 250 m square grid or along transects. The dispersion ratios were related to other soil properties including exchangeable sodium, potassium and magnesium percentages, organic carbon content, calcium carbonate content and electrical conductivity. The dispersion ratio correlates most closely with exchangeable sodium percentage and organic carbon content; weaker correlations exist with exchangeable potassium and calcium carbonate contents. Dispersion ratios rise sharply, i.e. reflect a marked increase in soil instability, when organic carbon content is less than 2·5% and calcium carbonate content is less than 2%. Magnesium has little effect on the dispersion ratio. The soil solution salt concentration (as expressed by electrical conductivity) is too low over much of the area to promote flocculation, and hence stability, of the soil clays.