Isle of Wight Council


The Historic Environment Record

The Longstone, Mottistone

Between the 1960s and 1980s, it was realised nationally that many archaeological sites were being lost. This was due to development and other pressures.  All counties were encouraged to develop their own Sites and Monuments Record (SMR).  Over the years, the records gradually became more complex and their scope has become much wider.  The SMR have now been re-named Historic Environment Records (HER). 

The Isle of Wight HER comprises a computerised database linked to a Geographic Information System (GIS). It is complemented by documentary archives and historic maps as well as extensive collections of aerial photographs and an archaeological library.

The HER is updated continuously when fieldwork is undertaken and as new information comes to hand.  It currently contains information on over 15,000 sites, including:

  • Archaeological monuments and find spots;
  • historic buildings;
  • coastal;
  • maritime;
  • military;
  • industrial sites;
  • parks and gardens;
  • landscape features.

The record also contains details of events such as excavations, geophysical surveys and other projects.

Information held in the HER and its archives may be consulted by appointment by developers, researchers, students and other interested members of the general public. 

An HER search forms the minimum requirement in the production of a Heritage Statement accompanying a planning application. 

Historic environment and archaeological desk-based assessments should be carried out in accordance with Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) standards and guidance.


A search fee is normally only made where the enquiry is for commercial or profit-making purposes. Charges may also be made for photocopying, etc.   


Application process

  • Enquirers need to complete and return a HER user’s declaration form before being given access to the record.
  • Download or print off the HER user’s declaration form . (PDF, 61KB, 2 pages) 
  • Complete the declaration form.
  • When completed return the form to the address found in the contact tab.


Further information

  • The Isle of Wight Council reserves the right to refuse access to information held on the Historic Environment Record. This may happen if there is a threat to the security and preservation of the archaeological resource. 
  • Confidential information will not be disclosed.