One of the so far generally unknown pleasures of the Isle of Man is the presence of several long distance paths often with spectacular scenery. It is interesting to note that T.E.Brown was also a great walker and published a short guide to walks in 1877.
The first established was Millennium Way created in 1979 to commemorate the supposed millennium of Tynwald. This is a 28mile (40km) path across the centre of the Island between Castletown and Sky Hill, Ramsey following the old Royal Road.
The most spectacular is the coastal path Raad ny Foillan or Way of the Gull - a 95mile (150km) path around the coast of the Island.
Bayr ny Skeddan or the Herring Way is a shorter 14 mile (22km) path between Castletown and Peel.
The Heritage Trail is a 10mile (16km) path along the disused trackbed of the Douglas to Peel railway.
Besides these are many other shorter paths that are covered in several guides.
Ordnance Survey Landranger sheet 95 1:50,000 (approximately 1" to a
mile) covers the whole Island with all the paths marked.
On a larger scale is the 2-sheet 1:25,000 Isle of Man Public Rights of Way and Outdoor Leisure Map which gives considerably more detail though it can be a little too large for convenience whilst walking. The old (Orange cover) map sometimes showed too much detail is shown as it used the 1898 revision of the 6" (1:10,000) as the base map reduced in size thus making some details visible only under a magnifying glass! The recent (gren/grey cover) 'digital' map is up to date (c.2002) and is considerably clearer but at the expense of loss of fine details.
In my opinion the most informative book is that by Aileen Evans
Isle of Man Coastal Path published by Cicerone Press 1988
(ISBN 0-902363-95-6). Irrespective of its title it also briefly
covers the other paths. She also adds some relevant (though at times
somewhat 'gushing') history
An alternative is Walking the Isle of Man Coastal Path by John Merrill Footprint Press 1997 (ISBN 1-874754-53-5) - based on a week's visit to the Island, the author was obviously unaware of the Leisure map and although the walking directions are clear there is little additional history in the text.
The late D. Vale's Ruby: A Manx Dog with a Tale 1994 (Manx Experience ISBN 1873120-18-4) would if judged from its title have nothing to do with paths - however it is probably the most entertaining account of walking every footpath on the Island and will give great pleasure especially when read after one has done the same walk.
The paths are generally well signposted