The ECN Data Centre

Site Information: Sourhope

Sponsoring organisation(s)

The Scottish Government (through The James Hutton Institute)

Network(s) this site belongs to
UK Environmental Change Network
UK Environmental Change Biodiversity Network

Site characteristics

Min Altitude 200m

Site boundaries are indicated with a black line.
Click map to enlarge.

Max Altitude 601m
Area of Site 1119ha
Mean annual temperature* 7.5oC
Mean annual rainfall* 996mm
* calculated from the ECN Data Centre database
Information held about this site
View a list of datasets collected at this site
View a list of publications about this site


The ECN site at Sourhope is managed by the James Hutton Institute with consent and support from Roxburghe Estate. Sourhope research station (NGR NT 846202) lies 15 miles south-east of Kelso near the head of the Bowmont valley on the western slopes of the Cheviot. The station covers an area of approximately 1100 hectares.

The target sampling site (TSS) is located on the broad, smooth southerly to south-westerly shoulder of the Schil (summit 605m) at an altitude of between 460-510m. The soils are predominantly peaty gleyed podzols of the Cowie series and Sourhope association. The organic surface horizons are underlain by a mineral horizon. The vegetation at the TSS is representative of that across both the farm and many parts of the uplands in southern Scotland consisting of coarse grassland dominated by White bent (Nardus stricta) and Flying bent (Molinia caerulea). The mean annual rainfall is over 1100mm on the hilltops. The site is relatively exposed and access can be difficult due to prolonged snow cover during the winter months.

The meteorological conditions are recorded both manually and automatically with a weather station that is located on Fassett Hill. Generally the streams flow south to form the Sourhope burn which becomes the Bowmont Water at the boundary of the station. Two tributaries are sampled, the Alderhope Burn and the Rowantree Burn. The precipitation chemistry and atmospheric chemistry samples are collected adjacent to the sampling point on the Rowantree burn. The flume and gauging station are also located at this point.

James Hutton Institute


Related links

  • Sourhope was also the research site for the NERC Thematic Programme on Soil Biodiversity.
  • This site is part of the COSMOS-UK network. COSMOS (the Cosmic-ray Soil Moisture Observing System UK), is a new network that will deliver real-time weather monitoring and field scale measurements of soil moisture across the United Kingdom.



Ms Helen Watson

The James Hutton Institute
Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, AB15 8QH

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