Examination of the
Definitive Map for the Isle of Wight reveal footpaths, bridleways and byways
that form a large and richly interconnected network of paths that contributes
to the island's transport infrastructure. In fact their total length,
some 500 miles in all, equals that of the road system itself. The
purpose behind this project is to provide an 'on line' documented source for
the Definitive Map to enable the location of any footpath, bridleway or byway
to be identified by it's unique reference number and show it's location on the
Public Rights of Way were
first given their Definitive Map numbers during the original survey in 1950.
Each borough, urban district and parish were asked to mark on the map all
paths that they considered public, numbering them as they were entered.
Upon examination of the submitted list, some of these paths were eliminated
from the final 1952 Definitive Map as not public which as a consequence,
created gaps in the logical sequence. Additionally, some paths have
become extinguished since 1952 and consequentially have also been removed from
The path can be identified
by it's parish initials i.e. SW36 is footpath number 36 in the parish of Shorwell. It is worth pointing out that footpath reference numbers
change as they cross parish boundaries which means that one path can have a
set of reference numbers as it crosses from one parish into the next.
Furthermore, not all parishes adopted the same rationale as paths were
numbered. Some parishes (Arreton) would keep the the same reference
number for the whole length of the path within the parish whereas other
parishes (Niton & Whitwell) would create a different reference number as the
path was crossed or joined by another; the latter method creates a higher
number of apparent paths which complicates things when detailing a walk.
Also providing further confusion is that a footpath can change to a bridleway
or byway whilst still retaining the same reference number e.g. A25 starts as a
footpath leaving Arreton to become a byway as it descends St Georges Down
returning back to a footpath at Downend.
There appears to one
exception to the rule which is path F11/T29 which uniquely has a dual
identity due to it's position along the Freshwater - Totland parish
boundary; however, there are many instances where other paths run along a
parish boundary where a single identity is used where the user has to 'best
guess' the parish prefix. Also a number of paths have no identity at
all where paths merge, join or split; again leaving this to the user to
'best guess' For example V62 becomes V57, then assumes no identity as it
runs along the boundary to become GL 50; during this short section it is
joined by NT1, GL 49 & GL 48 so it's a bit unclear as the correct identity
from the Definitive Map.
Parish initials appear on
each map in large yellow letters. Parish, urban district and borough
boundaries appear in wide yellow lines and are depicted as they existed in
1952. Although new parishes have been created since 1952, the original
parish path numbers continue to be used as they are established in the records
and physically exist on the signposts.
The table below shows the
parishes used to reference the path numbers fro the Definitive Map; click on
the parish name to show the paths with their reference numbers.