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British Lakes

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About the British Lakes website

The main aim of the British lakes website is to provide a reasonably comprehensive listing of named lakes, lochs, reservoirs and other waterbodies in Great Britain.

Data Sources

Data for the British Lakes website is compiled from several publicly available sources. The three most important are the OS Gazetteer, the UK Lakes project and Wikipedia. Location data (local authority names, etc) is from MapIt.

Names of lakes are, generally, either those given by the OS or the UK Lakes project.

Duplicate Names

Browsing the lists of lakes (or searching for them by name) will show many duplicated names. In some cases, this is simply because the same name is applied to a large number of entirely unrelated waterbodies. There are, for example, ten different lakes in England called, unoriginally, "The Lake", and Scotland is peppered with numerous instances of "Loch Dubh".

A more complex situation, though, is where a single name is applies to what is actually more than one distinct waterbody in the same location - a kind of reverse archipelago, so to speak. A typical example is Daneshill Lakes in Nottinghamshire, which is a series of several small lakes forming part of a nature reserve. The OS Gazetteer lists these as a single identity, but the UK Lakes project lists each waterbody separately and assigns it a separate ID. The waterbody ID used by the UK Lakes project is also the basis for the official identifiers used by the Environment Agency, and hence any other dataset published by the EA.

Where possible, group of lakes with a single name have been grouped on the map and in the lists. However, this isn't always reliable as there's no easy way to automate the grouping. So, in some cases, there will still be duplicate entries for groups of lakes.

Missing Lakes

Not every lake in Great Britain is included. Most of the missing ones are those which do not have any kind of official name (and most of those are anonymous simply because they are small). Others are missing because they don't appear in any of the datasets used to generate this website. At some point, I may attempt to add some of the more obvious missing lakes, but that isn't currently a priority.


Each entry has both a Google map and an OS map on the "maps" page. Google has the advantage of the satellite view, which enables you to see the lake from above, but the OS map generally gives a better idea of the actual topology. Google maps, being primarily designed as road maps, are often not very good at showing geographical features, especially in more remote locations - some lochs in Scotland, for example, simply don't appear at all.

(To forestall the obvious question: The reason I'm not using Open StreetMap is because, outside urban centres, OSM is even worse than Google at showing non-transport features. In particular, its coverage of waterbodies and waterways is generally quite poor. Partly, this is because of the difficulty of mapping inaccessible locations without the benefit of satellite imagery, and partly it reflects the simple fact that most of OSM's maintainers are based in urban areas. But a major issue is the fact that detailed waterway data for the UK is only available on a fairly restrictive commercial licence. If you'd like this to change, then please add your voice to requests for it to be released under the Open Government licence.)

Credits is a Good Stuff website. Programming is by Mark Goodge.

Copyright and Re-use

The content of this website comes from a number of different sources and the copyright is, therefore, rather complex.

Data obtained from the OS and the Environment Agency is used under the terms of the Open Government Licence. The UK Lakes database was originally derived from the OS Panorama dataset which is also open data. Waterbody IDs, although developed by the UK Lakes project, are now widely used in EA open data (and other government publications) and are, presumably, not restricted by copyright.

Google maps and OS maps are used according to the terms of their respective APIs. Photos are from Panoramio and are the copyright of their respective authors; they are used here under the terms of the Panoramio API. Some content is from Wikipedia and is used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Licence.

All original content on this site not derived from any other source is copyright © Mark Goodge and is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Licence.

Geeky Stuff

For those that care abut such things, this site is built on an open source platform using Linux, Apache, PHP and MySQL. The underlying design is based on a lightweight object-oriented codebase utilising Savant3 as a templating framework.

Contact the British Lakes website

You can contact the administrator of this website by email at 'info{at}' (making the obvious substitution to turn that into a valid email address).