Recent hydrogeological investigation of the catchment of the River Wye, Derbyshire (UK) has shown that published views of the local and regional hydrogeology lack sophistication. A conceptual model of the catchment hydrogeology has been formulated using the results of water tracing experiments, water chemistry and borehole hydrograph analyses, together with detailed consideration of bedrock lithology, geological structure and karstic process. The model highlights previously unrecognized differences in the hydrogeological behaviour of the distinct bedrock units. In conjunction with an assessment of the structural setting, the underlying stratigraphical differences assist in understanding the distribution, density and form of the springs in the catchment. A similar approach might assist understanding of the hydrogeology of other karstic aquifers.