The nitrogen (N) composition of streams draining eight upland regions of Britain was compared using monthly samples collected between April 1997 and April 1998. Stream samples were analysed for total N (TN), particulate N (PN), nitrate (NO3), ammonium (NH4), and dissolved organic nitrogen (DON). Concentrations of TN were small, generally less than 1.5 mg N l�1, were dominated by dissolved forms of N, and varied significantly between regions. NO3 accounted for the majority of variability. Concentrations of DON also varied between regions but to a smaller extent than those of NO3. There were considerable variations in TN fluxes between upland regions, which ranged between 3.8 and 16.1 kg N ha�1 year�1. The majority of the variation was due to NO3 fluxes, which were largest in regions receiving largest inputs of atmospheric N deposition and ranged between 1.4 and 13.5 kg N ha�1 year�1. Fluxes of DON ranged between 1 and 3.5 kg N ha�1 year�1, while fluxes of PN were generally less than 0.5 kg N ha�1 year�11, and NH4 fluxes ranged between 0.1 and 0.4 kg N ha�1 year�11. NO3 was the dominant fraction (47�84%) of N exported from all upland regions except the Highlands, where DON accounted for 52% of the TN flux. This study has shown that the DON fraction is an important component of the total N transported by upland streams in Britain.