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Roads on the Island

Unlike the rest of England and Wales, the island did not have Turnpike Trusts to maintain roads but by a 1813 Act of Parliament, the Isle of Wight Highways Commission was established.

This Commission had the responsibility to maintain the roads (except those within the Borough of Newport) and was empowered to erect tollgates/bars and levy tolls.

By the time tolls were abolished in 1889, there were about 50 tollgates/bars across the island.

The Highways Commissions was abolished in 1894 and responsibility passed to then recently created County Council.

Two roads remained in private ownership and subject to tolls for many years.

The Embankment Road between St Helens and Bembridge was built atop the embankment which allowed Brading Haven to be drained and which protected the railway line running on the landward side. The road was originally owned by the railway company and a toll for vehicles was collected at the Bembridge end - the toll was abolished in 1971.

The Seaview Duver road, between Oakhill Road and the Salterns, was originally built as the driveway to Seafield House and also allowed the land behind it to be drained. It later became a toll road operated by the Seaview Duver Toll Road Company with the tolls collected at the Oakfield Road end. In the late 20th century, European funding was sought for coastal protection along the length of the road, one condition of the funding was that the road should be open to all users free of charge. So in 1997 the Isle of Wight Council took over management and abolished the toll. Once the European funding had been secured, in 2003 the IW Council took over ownership of the road and seawall for a nominal £1.

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