Rivers are major agents of landscape modification and, in turn, their behaviour is greatly influenced by the catchments through which they flow. The diversity of climate, topography, geology and land use throughout the UK makes for a wide variety of flow regimes.
To assist in understanding the spatial and temporal variations in UK flow patterns, and to help identify catchments of a particular type, the National River Flow Archive holds spatial descriptions and information for gauged catchments. The information holdings embrace elevation, land use, geology, rainfall as well as including catchment statistics for a range of other variables.
The spatial information comprises of a summary catchment description, catchment statistics and maps of spatial variables. The brief catchment descriptions are qualitative, derived from a number of sources, and may not utilise standard nomenclature. For more detailed and quantitative spatial catchment characterisations, users should refer to the catchment statistics and maps.
Catchment spatial information is held by the NRFA for most catchments where flow data are archived but users should note that some spatial statistics and maps are not available for all gauging stations held on the archive. We update the catchment spatial information when new stations are added to the NRFA or when more accurate information becomes available.