CEH digital river network of Great Britain (1:50,000)

This dataset comprises river centrelines, digitised from OS 1:50,000 mapping. It consists of four components: rivers; canals; surface pipes (man-made channels for transporting water such as aqueducts and leats); and miscellaneous channels (including estuary and lake centre-lines and some underground channels). This dataset is a representation of the river network in Great Britain as a set of line segments, i.e. it does not comprise a geometric network.

Publication date: 2000-12-31

Get the data

Access and use conditions

Bespoke licensing conditions apply to these data. If you choose to download the data, the CEH Data Licensing team will contact you to negotiate a licence

This dataset consists of a series of digitised lines representing waterways in GB. This dataset may be used for mapping of rivers and streams but it is NOT a geometric network and therefore should not be used for applications that require network connectivity.

Bespoke licensing and/or fees may apply to these data. If you choose to download the data, the CEH Data Licensing team will contact you to discuss your exact requirements.


Study area
Temporal extent
1984-01-01    to    …

Provenance & quality

The dataset was produced within a long-term project of the Institute of Hydrology (now CEH) between the mid-1970s and the late 1990s. The project digitised, (either manually or using 'laser scanners') the "blue line" layer of the Ordnance Survey's 1:50,000 2nd series (Landranger) maps. The dataset consists of all the single blue lines from the source maps, plus centre-lines from double sided rivers, lakes and estuaries. All gaps in the source material have been closed, using local knowledge where necessary, to give a river network that is continuous from source to mouth

Correspondence/contact details

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Maclean Building, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford
OX10 8BB
United Kingdom


Moore, R.V.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Morris, D.G.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Flavin, R.W.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Other contacts

Environmental Information Data Centre
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology


Spatial representation type
Spatial reference system
OSGB 1936 / British National Grid


Topic categories
Inland Waters
C01494,  CEH Water Programme,  Geospatial / Map Hydrography Hydrography,  Hydrology,  Hydrology National Rees Section River Flow and Networks Water,  Water Resources