I'm looking for a set of outlines of the river basins in the UK - I don't need a particularly detailed or highly accurate map - just a map saying point X will drain into the Thames or point Y will just go into the sea! Just the main river names would be fine. I have the full Environment Agency rivers set and the OS DTMs if I want... but how do I convert this into a catchment boundary?

  • Sorry I should also have specified that I'm looking for a shapefile or similar.
    – Sean
    Feb 11 '11 at 10:10
  • and a catchment name too please?
    – Sean
    Feb 11 '11 at 12:02

The trick is to Google "UK river catchment map". (Other combinations that include "watershed" don't work.) You will find

A search involving "watershed" did turn up a historical (1883) map in the Rumsey Map Collection.


You could perform a watershed analysis yourself, but its a time consuming process. One good source of existing river catchment data is the HydroSHEDS project, which provides high resolution basins for much of the globe, including the UK.


If you don't find a map, SAGA GIS has a module called watershed basins that uses a dem and the channel network (your rivers). If you use a coarse dem this goes fast. http://www.saga-gis.org/saga_modules_doc/ta_channels/index.html


https://data.gov.uk/dataset/integrated-hydrological-units-of-the-united-kingdom-catchments has data for catchments in GB, but not Northern Ireland. Although derived from a lower resolution grid than EA Lidar, these should be sufficient for most purposes

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