Isle of Wight Definitive Map

Definitive Map and Statement History

In 1949 all county councils in England and Wales were given the duty of surveying and mapping all public rights of way in their area. They needed to classify them as footpaths, bridleways or roads used as public paths. These are now called byways open to all traffic (BOATs). The surveys had three stages: draft, provisional and definitive. The definitive maps would be taken as conclusive evidence that a path shown was a public right of way at the date the map was prepared.  A statement in respect of each path recording particulars was deemed to be conclusive evidence of such matters recorded therein on the position, width, conditions and limitations.

The original definitive map for the Isle of Wight was produced in 1952 and reviewed in 1968. The current edition of the Definitive Map and Statement for the Isle of Wight has a ‘relevant date’ of 29 February 2000.

You can view the Definitive Map via our app.

The Isle of Wight Definitive Map and Statement 2000

The Isle of Wight Definitive Map 2000 is based on the Ordnance Survey 1:10,000 map for the Isle of Wight. 

The map is available for inspection at:

The following are the pages which precede the maps in the printed Definitive Map & Statement book.

01 Front Cover (PDF, 1.20MB)

02 Second Page (PDF, 1.88MB)

03 Contents (PDF, 1.74MB)

04 Introduction (PDF, 1.99MB)

05 Definitive Map & Statement Recording Public Rights of Way (PDF, 2.35MB)

06 Legal Effect of the Definitive Map & Statement - Part III Section 56 (PDF, 1.75MB)

07 The Relevant Date Section 52(2) a & b - Section 57(4) (PDF, 2.22MB)

08 Continuous Review Part III Section 53 - future modifications of the map & statement (PDF, 2.35MB)

09 Modification Orders & Application Section 52(2) Schedules 14 & 15 (PDF, 2.34MB)

10 Key to Rights of Way & maintenance of paths (PDF, 1.78MB)

11 Path Numbering - urban & parish boundaries (PDF, 1.94MB)

12 List of page numbers & main place names (PDF, 3.02MB)

13 Key Plan of Map Pages (PDF, 1.23MB)

14 The maps

The map is for public inspection and reference only and must not be copied without permission of the owner.

The Definitive Map and Statement is conclusive proof of the existence and status of a right of way at the relevant date (29 February 2000). Where the map shows a footpath, bridleway or byway, the map is conclusive evidence that there was at the relevant date a highway as shown.

The Definitive Map and Statement may only be changed by and according to an Order made by the Council. The Council has a duty to continuously review and update the Definitive Map and Statement so it forms an accurate record of the public rights of way network.

The Isle of Wight Definitive Map and Statement is divided into the 20 parishes which existed in 1952. Each public right of way is numbered and identified with the parish prefix initials e.g. BS100 is path number 100 in the parish of Brighstone.  The parish prefix and number system is the Council’s way of identifying all of the paths on the island. You will find this path number on most of the signs that show the rights of way network.

(A) Arreton; (B) Brading; (BB) Bembridge; (BS) Brighstone; (C) Chale; (CB) Calbourne; (CS) Cowes; (F) Freshwater; (G) Gatcombe; (GL) Godshill; (N) Newport; (NC) Newchurch; (NT) Niton & Whitwell; (R) Ryde;  (S) Shalfleet; (SS) Sandown & Shanklin; (SW) Shorwell; (T) Totland; (V) Ventnor; (Y) Yarmouth.

The online digital definitive maps can be viewed on our Digital Definitive Map web page. The relevant date for this map is 29 February 2000. Changes have occurred to the rights of way network since this date, you can download a document showing the definitive map changes since 2000 (PDF, 168KB). For example by diversion or extinguishment orders.

For details of changes please view the current definitive map changes list. If you would like more information regarding any of the changes, please email:

The viewing of the Digital Definitive Map 2000 must not be used in substitution of obtaining a Local Land Charges Search (optional question 5.1), the result of which will provide the accurate situation taking into account changes to the rights of way network since 29 February 2000.

Section 31 (S31) Deposits and Register

What is a Section 31 Deposit?

To prevent members of the public creating new rights of way across land, landowners can deposit with the Council a statement, map and a description of their land and any rights of way crossing it. This is known as a “Section 31 Deposit” as it is made pursuant to Section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980. Further information regarding Section 31 Deposits generally and how to make an application is set out below:

Public rights of way can come into being having been deemed to be dedicated. This occurs through 20 years’ uninterrupted use by the public giving rise to a presumption that the way was intended to be dedicated as a right of way by the landowner. The period of 20 years is counted back from the date on which the public’s right to use the path was first brought into question or challenged.  A Section 31 Deposit is needed to challenge both the public’s right to use a non-definitive path and to show an intention by the landowner not to dedicate new rights of way across their land.

The effect of making a Section 31 Deposit

  • It is possible to allow continued informal use of a route (e.g. by local people), without fear of a public right of way being claimed on the basis of future use from the date of the Deposit.
  • Where a route has been used informally, for less than 20 years, it will not be possible for a right of way to be claimed through deemed dedication (although a claim at common law may still be possible).
  • Any new routes will automatically be protected from the outset from the possibility of any claim.
  • The Deposit will have no effect on the existence of public rights of way already shown on the Definitive Map or on any rights which have already been established before the Deposit i.e. claims based on historical evidence or through 20 years use prior to the first Section 31 Deposit. However, making a Deposit will immediately fix a point at which any unacknowledged rights are brought into question. For subsequent claims, the 20 year period would be counted back from the date of the Deposit. If these claims succeed, the Deposit documents should be revised.

S31 Deposit register

The Council is required to maintain a Register of Section 31 Deposits and details of Deposits are set out below.  

The Register is available for public inspection at the Public Rights of Way department, County Hall, High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1UD during normal office hours (9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday).

Please email to arrange an appointment before arrival to ensure a member of staff is available to assist.

How do I make a S31 Deposit?

To request an application pack, please email

The S31 Deposit application pack includes:

  • full details of the procedure
  • application forms

What does a S31 application cost?

The fees for the 2024/25 tax year are: £275 for a new S31 deposit or £75 for a renewal.

More about a S31 Deposit application

  • As of 1 October 2013, Statements can be made in respect of either rights of way or village greens, or to cover rights of way and village greens.  
  • Statements, but not necessarily the map, will need to be renewed every 20 years in respect of applications made after 1 October 2013 (every 10 years for Statements / Deposits made before 1 October 2013).
  • For village greens, under section 15A of the Commons Act 2006, landowners can deposit a statement (with map) which brings to the end any period of recreational use ‘as of right’.

Current S31 Notices of Application:

Modification Order applications and register

A Modification Order changes the Definitive Map and Statement in one or more of the following ways:

  • By adding a footpath or bridleway (public path) or a byway not previously recorded on the Map and Statement.
  • By deleting a public path or byway previously shown on the Map and Statement.
  • By altering the status of a recorded path or byway (e.g. by upgrading a footpath to a bridleway).
  • By amending the details of position or width of a path or byway which are recorded in the Statement.      

An application can be made to the Council for a Definitive Map Modification Order and provided it is correctly made and supported with sufficient evidence, the Council has a legal duty to investigate and decide whether a Modification Order should be made. The whole basis for making Definitive Map Modification Orders hinges on there being sufficient evidence that the Definitive Map and Statement is incorrect and needs to be modified. It is essential to realise that no matter how desirable a change or modification may be, the Council cannot make an order as applied for unless there is sufficient evidence.  If you wish to make an application then please contact the Rights of Way department and request an application pack which will provide full details of the procedure and include the necessary application forms.

Pursuant to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, the Council is required to keep a Register of Applications made under Section 53(5) of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 and to make it available for public viewing. 

Download the Modification Register.