Believe it or not, you can’t metal detecting everywhere you wish. Every bit of land is technically owned by somebody and we have to gain permission to use that land to detect on before we head out in the field. As much as this should not be the case for public land, parks and beaches we do have to go by the rules and the law of the land else we could end up facing jail time or hefty fines for trespassing!
But don’t let that put you off the hobby of metal detecting as it is easier than you think to go out and get you some land to detect on. Gaining permission to detect on land is not only critical for you but is critical for all those within the metal detecting community. It doesn’t look good if there are news articles going around about metal detectors trespassing on private land and digging up fields.
Gaining permission doesn’t only just gain you permission to be on the land without being arrested or chased after by an angry farmer but it actually gives you permission to claim whatever you find on the land regarding what the deal is between you and the land owner! Most small finds will always be kept by the Dectorist but the agreement is there in case you come across a large hoard of old coins and either you or the land owner tries to claim it is their own! This is where we come to contract agreements between the landowner and metal detector. I would usually talk firstly about gaining permission and the best ways to go about that but in this day and age with metal detecting becoming more and more popular and understood by the farming community and land owners I am going to for now believe that you already have permission or are about to gain permission to have access to land.
Having a contract between you and the farmer is critical when you have come to an agreement that you yourself or any agreed party are going to be allowed access to their property and this contract will be a written and signed agreement that you will not drift from the boundaries that have been agreed upon and that if any finds are made on the land that you will report them to the land owner. It is also a signed contract that states that if there is any large quantity of coins or items deemed as a treasure that after the findings have been reported to the correct people that any money earned from the findings will be equally split between both the owner and finder! Also in the contract will preferably be a section that will state that under no circumstances you will be able to sue the landowner if you have an accident and that you will cause no damage to any property live stock or surrounding grounds! Now back on to the main subject where can I metal detecting?
The best way of going about getting permission is to ask directly or use your phone or email account to contact them indirectly. Always make sure, when you are introducing yourself to landowners that you are polite and not going to come across as in their face. Leave any trace of metal detecting behind, do not in any circumstance bang on the door with metal detector spade, and back in hand. This will most certainly put them off and lower your chances in getting permission. I would advise however to bring along with you some old finds that you may have, especially anything that is related to the area as this will show that you are interested in the history and in most cases they will be intrigued to hear more about their land, especially if they didn’t have any idea about it’s past! Don’t approach landowners who are obviously busy and look as though they could do without being distracted!
Try to do a bit of research of the area and/or their land before approaching them so once you have told them that you are interested in searching their land that you have some interest in the history that surrounds them. Don’t go on about finding treasure and gold, as this will always lead them to decline! Try to dress formally and leave any kids or dogs at home. Always make sure you stick to any agreement and never bring along others if you have only agreed that it will just be yourself! The best places to metal detecting are those that have seen or see a high activity in foot traffic and/or are rich in history. Here is a list of places that I would recommend as to where to metal detecting army forts, lookout sites and battlegrounds abandoned houses and structures beaches canal towpaths churches and graveyards circus/fairground and car boot sale sites deserted yards and gardens homestead sites and forgotten grounds junctions, crossroads and crossings mining, logging camps and the surrounding areas old farm buildings and surrounding work areas parks and school fields religious sites and historical markers roadside paths and rural pathways river crossings and fords swimming areas, lakes and rivers scout and brownie sites campgrounds.