Talk:Longest rivers of the United Kingdom

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What is going on here? This is not quite about all the rivers in the UK. Also, for some strange reason this talk page redirected to Talk:List of rivers of England and Wales —Preceding unsigned comment added by Simply south (talkcontribs)

You're right; the Nith in Scotland should be equal 23rd, but lo and behold... not there.


Cant you say where all the river are from or where they start or finish —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

That may not be a bad idea although i am not sure whether settlement or other area should be used. Simply south (talk) 23:59, 9 November 2008 (UTC)yo mama

Basin size?[edit]

Is there a ranking of rivers by the size of their drainage basin? — sjorford++ 23:55, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Sources for this data[edit]

What are the sources for this data? I have added Owen et al to the rivers where the length quoted is the same, but several of the others are wildly different to the sources I have. Bob1960evens (talk) 13:49, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Criteria for determining a rivers' source[edit]

As confirmed on wikipedia's own page for River source there is no universally agreed method for defining a rivers' source so what has been used here and on all other UK river pages?

As an example of the issues that arise the following can be said for the River Spey:

The headwaters of the Spey can broadly be considered to come from three locations if all the various criteria are considered (furthest from the mouth, head of most dominent watercourse, greatest elevation etc.) Loch Spey to the west, Shesgnan Burn to the north and Allt Coire Bhanain to the south. Taking the confluence of Shesgnan Burn as the datumn point the furthest point 'up stream' from here at 6.6km is via Allt Coire Bhanain between Meall Ptarmigan and Garbh Choire - a clear 2km further than any other tributary. This is also the highest point of the the three. However, based on Google's aerial photography the most dominant source is clearly from Loch Spey as the article currently identifies. However, if the Loch Spey watercourse is to be considered the correct source then the spring feeding into Loch a' Bhanain must be considered the actual true source location (this being 0.1km further than the longest spring to the north west of the Loch itself). This though is just 3.9km from the confluence of the Shesgnan Burn.

My personal preference for determining the source of a river is the furthest point from the mouth of the river regardless of any other criteria. This would mean that for the River Spey the source is not Loch Spey but Allt Coire Bhanain. Simontific (talk) 21:14, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

Length of the river Teifi[edit]

75.5 miles = 121.505 km, so it is just possible, but very unlikely, for the length (which is not defined to that degree of precision anyway) to be 75 miles and 122 km, both rounded to the nearest unit. ----Ehrenkater (talk) 18:18, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

But we have a reputable source for 122 Km , is there a similarly robust source for 75.5 miles ?  Velella  Velella Talk   22:18, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
As stated in the article, there is not much consensus about the exact lengths of rivers. However if you want to show 122 km, then for consistency the miles figure should be changed to 76.----Ehrenkater (talk) 14:59, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
On looking at the other rivers in the table, there was just one, the Wye, where the miles and km figures were clearly inconsistent. I've changed the 135 to 134, for which there are plenty of sources. ----Ehrenkater (talk) 15:14, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Ends of estuaries[edit]

The longest rivers in this list all end in rather indeterminate estuaries and it would seem that the lengths of the rivers are calculated to the limits of the relevant harbour authorities. Thus the Severn ends at the limit of the Gloucester Harbour Trustees influence which is roughly the Bristol Avon, the Thames ends at the Yantlet Line (Isle of Grain to Southend) and the Trent at Immingham. I don't have access to Owen et al's book which is the most referenced on this page. Can someone who has tell me if they mention this, or give some alternative definition?

The problem is that things have changed over time. In particular the PLA's authority now stretches to a line between Margate and Frinton-on-sea. The Severn now has something called the Severn River Basin District which ends in the line between the Gower and near Weston-super-Mare which is normally considered as the end of the Severn Estuary and where the Bristol Channel starts. The Humber all comes under BPC so presumably stretches past Grimsby which was once a separate authority. These make a difference of between 14 and 30 miles difference to the lengths of these rivers so really makes a nonsense of these numbers.

The problem is to find a reliable source which reflects this. Very few professionals will touch the lengths of rivers. The subject doesn't lead to any unique answers. It looks as if the article is using information that is nearly 50 years out of date. Chris55 (talk) 23:02, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

"between the Gower and near Weston-super-Mare" I think you mean Lavernock Point near Barry and Brean Down near Weston-Super-Mare Op47 (talk) 16:24, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

Cartographical rivers v True Rivers[edit]

The rivers included in this list all appear to be cartographical rivers, ie the length where the name is applied to a river. For example, the river known as the Thames is so called between ST981994 and TR000800 (approx). If we can accept TR0008000 as the mouth of the Thames then the furthest source appears to be at SO966169, i.e. the source of the Churn. At List of rivers by length, this is what is being recorded i.e. true rivers. According to that article's conventions, the entry for the Thames would now be Thames-Churn. In the same spirit, the following at least ought to be added: Humber-Trent and Humber-Ouse-Ure. I am happy to measure it and cite the OS. Would that be an acceptable way forward? Op47 (talk) 16:20, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

The Thames-Churn debate does make a nice story, but as the BBC article states the OS still marks the source as Thameshead. As discussed above there seems to be enough problems in finding reliable sources for the lengths of rivers in the traditional or as you say the cartographical method, which is the biggest issue for this article. As for stringing rivers together, and measuring them yourself, I think that falls under WP:OR, but thanks for offering to do the work (and for checking here first)...Jokulhlaup (talk) 16:34, 14 November 2015 (UTC)


A quick measure on the map reveals the Tyne is nowhere near this length. Since the River Tyne article has the same issue, can we please keep discussion on Talk:River Tyne and read the results of any discussion to here. Op47 (talk) 17:16, 15 May 2016 (UTC)