National Well Record Archive

The National Well Record Archive is a collection of over 105 000 records of springs, water wells and water boreholes in England, Wales and Scotland. The majority of the original records are available as borehole scans.

Original records

Under the Water Resources Act 1991 anyone who intends to drill a well for extracting groundwater must inform the BGS and deposit a record of the well — Notification of intention to drill a borehole or sink a well ; from these data sources and from data collected by systematic survey and inventory of water resources, the BGS has built up a comprehensive archive that underpins hydrogeological assessments and research.

The amount of detail held on individual sites varies widely, from basic location information to comprehensive records covering the drilling and operation of a borehole.

Digital information

A map index of the National Well Record Archive is available by searching the BGS GeoIndex. It is complemented by the WellMaster database, which contains digitised data from the original records, categorised by geological data, water resource data, well construction and water quality.

Data access

Access type Dataset Information

Online access

Borehole record viewer

Our borehole record viewer offers direct, online access to the National Geoscience Data Centre collection of onshore scanned boreholes, shafts and well records.


Purchase borehole records of your choice. These are checked and delivered in a pack containing a geological map extract and listing of other records in the vicinity.

Geoindex onshore

A map-based browser providing access to index level data — water wells are in the boreholes theme.

Licenced datasets


The WellMaster dataset is available as a licensed product.


Discovery Metadata

Water well archive
WellMaster database


Contact Andrew McKenzie for further information