The UK Lakes database: spatial data and attributes for 40000 lakes and lake catchments across the UK

The UK Lakes database contains data for over 40,000 lakes and ponds in the UK. It includes information on lake size, volume, depth, water chemistry, typology, geology, habitats, land cover and hydrological catchments, amongst many others areas. The database was initially compiled in 2004 and has been accumulating data since, becoming the main resource for lake data in the UK. The database is accompanied by spatial data of lake outlines (originally from OS PANORAMA) and catchments for all lakes over 1 hectare (delineated from a 50m flow grid). Data has been compiled from a number of different sources, from individuals to universities and research institutions.

Get the data

This dataset is available under the terms of the Open Government Licence

This data is available as Shapefile or Database


Study area

Provenance & quality

A GIS-based inventory of lakes for Great Britain was originally developed by University College London and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in 2004 (Hughes 2004). The inventory includes more than 40000 water bodies in England, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man and catchment data for all water bodies with a surface area >1 ha. This version has been updated with additional water bodies from Northern Ireland and supplemented with more recent data during the development and implementation of the Water Framework Directive over the period 2003-2013.

In Great Britain, lake polygons were obtained from Ordnance Survey PANORAMA dataset while the polygons in Northern Ireland were provided by the Department of Environment Northern Ireland.

The development of the database was jointly funded by the Environment Agency, Natural England, Countryside Council for Wales (now Natural Resources Wales), and the Scotland and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research (SNIFFER).

Lake polygon geometry in Great Britain is based on Ordnance Survey data and contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Lake polygon geometry in Northern Ireland is based upon Crown Copyright and is reproduced with the permission of Land & Property Services under delegated authority from the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, Crown copyright and database rights, EMOU206.2. Northern Ireland Environment Agency Copyright 2015.

Supplemental information

Interactive portal for discovery and visualisation of the contents of the UK lakes database, including links through to biological and water quality monitoring data from other services (National Biodiversity Network and Environment Agency Water Quality API).
Hughes M., Bennion H., Kernan M., Hornby D.D., Hilton J., Phillips G. & Thomas R. (2004) The development of a GIS-based inventory of standing waters in Great Britain together with a risk-based prioritisation protocol. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution: Focus, 4 (2-3), 73-84. 10.1023/B:WAFO.0000028346.27904.83

Correspondence/contact details

UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Lancaster Environment Centre, Library Avenue, Bailrigg

Additional metadata

Topic categories
Inland Waters
Environmental survey Hydrology Water quality
Spatial representation type
Spatial reference system
OSGB 1936 / British National Grid
Last updated
26 March 2021 17:18