Geomorphological, geochemical and geochronological investigations of Holocene fluvial sedimentary sequences have been undertaken within a range of upland, piedmont and lowland valley floor reaches in the Yorkshire Ouse catchment, northern England. The aims of these studies have been to: (a) evaluate the effects of prehistoric and historic land-use change on catchment erosion and sediment delivery to river channels and floodplains; (b) establish the degree to which episodes of river erosion and sedimentation are controlled by climate-related variations in flood regime; and (c) assess the spatial heterogeneity of river response to environmental change and how this is likely to influence short- and long-term sediment storage, as well as sediment transfer to the Humber Estuary. Similar discontinuities in the Holocene alluvial record are evident at many sites in the Yorkshire Ouse catchment, though local differences in river sensitivity to externally imposed change have resulted in a complicated and often unique relationship between river behaviour and environmental change. The large proportion of particulate-borne contaminant metals (resulting predominantly from historical mining) stored in the Vale of York strongly indicates that sediment delivery from the Ouse catchment to the Humber Estuary during the Holocene may have been relatively low. This suggests that the degree of connectivity between river, estuarine and coastal transport systems, as well as spatial and temporal variations in fluvial sediment storage, are the key controls of long-term land-ocean sediment fluxes.