The Archaeology and Historic Environment Service provides information and advice about the historic environment of the Isle of Wight and its surrounding waters.

We provide advice at all stages of the planning process, and we advise on matters relating to the conservation and management of the rural historic environment.

We maintain the Historic Environment Record (HER). This is the Island’s most comprehensive source of information on all aspects of the historic environment. It provides information from the earliest evidence of humans to the present day.

The Finds Liaison Officer of the Portable Antiquities Scheme carries out finds identifications.

The Historic Environment Record

There are some charges for Historic Environment Record (HER) searches and for planning advice. These changes to discretionary charges follow the proposals set out in the 2021 to 2022 budget. We approved that budget in February 2021.

For Historic Environment and Archaeology pre-application advice, print or download the Planning and Building Control fees and charges (PDF 571KB,23 pages).

Safeguarding the future of our Island's past

The Archaeology and Historic Environment Service provides information and advice. We provide information about the historic environment of the Isle of Wight. This also includes the surrounding waters.

At all stages in the planning process, we provide advice to:

  • local planning authority
  • developer
  • landowners
  • agents.

Between the 1960s and 1980s, it was realised nationally that many archaeological sites were being lost due to development and other pressures. All counties were encouraged to develop their own Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) now named the Historic Environment Record.

The Isle of Wight HER comprises a computerised database linked to a Geographic Information System (GIS), documentary archives, historic maps, 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 more than 15,000 sites, including:

  • archaeological monuments and find spots
  • historic buildings
  • coastal
  • maritime
  • military
  • industrial site
  • 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 accessed by appointment for developers, researchers, students, and other interested members of the public.

HER search application and fees

A 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.

For more information, view HER Access and Charging Policy (PDF 94.3KB, 5 pages).

Application process

Enquirers need to complete and return a HER user declaration form (PDF 61KB, 2 pages) before being given access to the record. When you have completed the user declaration, return the form to us.

We reserve 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.