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Viking Recorder, River Ouse Levels in York

York is a historical tourist city which over the years has suffered from major flooding on both the River Ouse and River Foss both of which run through the city centre of York. As a result, there is a lot of flood prevention and river level monitoring stations in York, most famously at ‘Viking Recorder’.

There are also riverside flood barriers in York, especially close to the rivers in the centre, including most notably the Foss Barrier, which is at the confluence of the two rivers close to the ‘Blue Bridge’, on of York’s bridges in the city centre.

As a result of this, locals in York are used to checking river levels and that information, including flood alerts in York, is informed by Environment Agency data collected at Viking Recorder (seen on the left below).

Viking Recorder - River Levels York
Viking Recorder – River Levels York

As a company who not only specialises in water leak detection, but also flood damage repairs, we are familiar with helping people after their properties have been flooded in York and the areas around. If you have been unlucky enough to be affected by flooding, our friendly and helpful team can help you through a difficult time.

Where is Viking Recorder Located?

The Viking Recorder monitoring station on the River Ouse in York is very close to the city centre. You can see on the map below exactly where it is, as highlighted by the yellow star in the middle.

Viking Recorder - Location Map
Viking Recorder – Location Map, York.

As you can see, it is very close to the Park Inn Hotel in York, which sits between North Street and the River Ouse. The Viking Recorder river level monitoring station is on the banks of the River Ouse, close to a riverside pathway on the river which runs on the West side of the river between Lendal Bridge and Ouse Bridge. The pathway starts close to the Aviva building which is a prominent landmark in the area and runs across to Ouse Bridge, with a few steps along the way. This path can also be seen on the map above. We have included a few other local landmarks to help navigation too.

The exact spot of the Viking Recorder station in York is here on google maps. It logs river levels in the Centre of York and reports them automatically to the Environment Agency data repositories. This data is used for a number of purposes, including to inform flood alerts in York and to report river levels online, more on this later.

Why is it Called ‘Viking Recorder’?

People who live in York (‘Yorkies’ as we are lovingly known) and tourists visiting York will be familiar with the fact that York is a very historical city, in particular because of the influence of the Romans, who called York ‘Ebor’ (in about 71 AD!) and later the Vikings who called it ‘Jorvick’ (in the 9th Century). Both the Romans and Vikings left their mark on York and many historical buildings and structures remain to this day and attracting tourists to York from around the world.

We mentioned above that the Viking Recorder is situated behind the Park Inn by Radisson on North Street. Well, originally that hotel was called the Viking Hotel and that is why Viking Recorder is called that, so it is indirectly named after the Vikings rather than directly.

Viking Recorder - Environment Agency, York.
Viking Recorder – Environment Agency, York.

As you can see from the sign above from the Viking Recorder is not only to help with floods but also droughts when river levels are running low in the York area too. The same applies to other monitoring stations across Yorkshire Rivers in the region.

Where Can I See Current River Levels for York?

As we mentioned earlier, the Environment Agency publishes the river levels at Viking Recorder online. The data is published at 15 minute intervals, with the time of the latest reading displayed, and the page also shows:

  • The Current State of the River – frequently this says ‘Normal’
  • A Map of the Location – including other monitoring stations nearby
  • Recent Levels – for the few days preceding
  • Predicted River Levels for York – for a day or two ahead
  • Key Levels for the River – including past records (more on that later)
  • Supporting Information – including technical information etc.

The information from the Viking Recorder station, and others across the country, are used for flood alert services published on Gov.UK websites such as –

On the subject of flooding in York, checkout our article showing York Flood Maps which is interesting.

Flooding in York City Centre
Flooding in York City Centre

River Level Monitors Near Viking Recorder in York

As we mentioned earlier, there are a number of other river monitoring stations in the York area on the River Ouse and River Foss on top of Viking Recorder, which is the most famous. Each station has it’s own name.

This includes, from North to South (we have linked to each of them too):

There are other monitoring stations in the area, but these are the main ones.

River Foss Sluices levels - York
River Foss Sluices – York

If you want to find our more about York, please see our interesting list of the top 5 things to do in York, which we collated based on our local knowledge of working and living in the area over many years. You may also find our guide to Christmas Flood Safety useful too.

Viking Recorder River Levels in York – Top Tip
“When River Levels in York are expected to be high, often riverside pathways are closed because the flood gates are sealed. Be aware of that when walking around the centre, especially near the River Ouse”

Leak Detection Team

Flood Barrier in York on River Ouse
Flood Barrier in York on River Ouse

Flood Barriers in York

You can see above one of the many flood barriers in York that we referred to earlier, they are strategically placed around the city centre in York, including close to the Viking Recorder station to protect riverside properties from flooding and they are very effective at doing that.

The flood barriers are extremely solidly built in order to hold back the weight and force of floodwater. Naturally, they are sealed to be as watertight as possible, but on occasion, sandbags are added for additional support and for sealing potential gaps that might let water in.

As you might expect for a city that has been flooded over the years, and with the potential threat of further flooding related to global warming, the flood defences and barriers are regularly being reviewed and improved to further protect people from flooding along the banks of the rivers in York. This is alongside other flood alleviation work across the Yorkshire area.

River Levels in York - Records (River Ouse)
River Levels in York – Records (River Ouse)

River Levels in York – Records

Close to the river in York, close to St Georges Field and a stones-throw from Cliffords Tower in York is this plaque which shows the river level records in York, taken at Ouse Bridge, close to Viking Recorder.

As you can see, the record is shown as 17 feet 8 inches in the York floods in the Year 2000, which is around 5.4 meters. During those floods, many hundreds of houses got flooded in York and the surrounding area, with thousands of people getting evacuated too. The flooding was brought about after a number of low pressure systems brought huge amounts of rainfall to the region of Yorkshire.

The floods in 2000 has a devastating impact on the local homes and businesses with millions of pounds being payed out to fund the repairs, including from insurance companies. Floods like this one, and the one in 2015, help to prove the case for further investment in flood defences and flood prevention measures.

Flood Water - River Ouse, Near York.
Flood Water – River Ouse, Near York.

We are experts in dealing with flood water damage for people in the York and Yorkshire Coast area, so if you have been flooded, please contact our friendly team to arrange for help and guidance. We also deal with Yorkshire water leaks in local homes and businesses. Here are the local areas we cover.

At Rainbow Restoration – York & Yorkshire Coast we are experts in Leak Detection, including Commercial Leak Detection and also Water Damage Restoration, so if you need help finding a water leak or getting your property back to normal after a leak or flood, get in touch with our friendly local team who will be happy to help you with this. We are based in York.

Leak Detection Logo
Leak Detection Logo

How deep is the River Ouse in York?

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The depth of the River Ouse in York varies according to a number of factors. Firstly, the location on the river as, even when looking at a single point in time, there are parts which are deeper than others. Plus, at different times of year, especially if it has been raining a lot (or dry) then the river level will rise and fall accordingly. A lot of rain will clearly increase the risk of flooding in York.

How high is the River Ouse in York today?

Leak Detection Logo - Small

There are several river level monitoring stations in York, the most famous of which is Viking Recorder near the city centre. The exact depth of the River Ouse in York at the different monitoring stations will vary from point to point. The best way to get the latest figures, recent trends and future predictions is to check out the environment agency site (linked above).