Abstract We present and appraise a large compilation of peatland palaeoecological research in Great Britain, and discuss the value of these data for secondary analysis. We identify 475 radiocarbon-dated palaeoecological records from British peatlands published since 1970. Peatland palaeoecological research has been widespread but with some clear spatial biases reflecting factors such as accessibility and the location and interests of active researchers. We show that basic details such as stratigraphic descriptions, site coordinates and full details of radiocarbon dates are omitted from publications with surprising frequency and note the large quantity of data that only ever appears in PhD theses. To allow papers to remain concise while presenting essential background information we propose a system of standardised meta-data in online supplementary material. The extensive body of palaeoecological data for British peatlands has been relatively unexploited. The compilation we present will be a valuable aid in making better use of this data resource.