tandard soils are used worldwide as reference materials with which new model or single element experiments may be performed, assessed and calibrated. The testing databases associated with these are valuable resources that are particularly important when developing new procedures. However, the finite extent and variability of all natural deposits creates the possibility that standard soils may vary, or become unavailable, over time. The Ham River Sand (HRS), from the Thames Valley in the UK has been researched continuously and comprehensively in a series of studies since the 1940s, leading to a large database that includes recent advanced hollow cylinder, stress path triaxial and dynamic testing. Fresh samples are now unavailable and the paper describes a study of alternative sampling sources within the Thames Valley. Microscopic visual inspections, index measurements, direct shear, high pressure oedometer, bender element and stress path triaxial test data are presented in the paper, focusing on the natural variability and the ranges seen in material test response. A replacement for the original HRS is identified, so allowing those developing new tests the possibility of conducting experiments on material that is compatible with the existing HRS database. Reference is also made to advances in bender element testing achieved as part of the study.