New to Metal detecting?

Before you rush out and buy an expensive metal detector.. New to metal detecting

There is an important question you must ask yourself. ‘Where will I go detecting?’  If you only plan to use it on a beach, great! The world is your oyster or rather, a lot of the English and Welsh foreshore is. It’s the only place you can lawfully go detecting without express permission  HOWEVER, you will still need a permit! The good news is that its free and easy to obtain. All you need to do, is visit the crown estates website. Fill in the application form which only asks for a name and e-mail address. Read and agree to the terms and conditions and your done! Your permit will be sent by email within minutes, and will look like this:-

The holder of this permit has been granted consent by The Crown Estate to metal detect on Crown Estate foreshore.

Name: Fred-Bloggs
Email: Fred-Bloggs@yourmailbox

Permission is granted to metal detect by foot as a recreational pursuit on Crown Estate foreshore, subject to any further consents that may be required.

The permit holder confirms that he/she has read and understood the terms and conditions which apply to metal detecting on Crown Estate foreshore, and undertakes to comply with them.

The terms and conditions are to be found at:

The Crown Estate generally seeks to encourage access over, and responsible use of, the foreshore and as a result Crown Estate consent for non-commercial metal detecting on the foreshore will not incur a charge. Foreshore in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is defined as the land between mean high water and mean low water. In Scotland the definition is between mean high water of spring tides and mean low water of spring tides.

Note – this permit does not apply to searching below the foreshore, i.e. on seabed for which a separate consent may be required. Please direct any enquiries over seabed searching

Get it here:-

So where are you going to go? That is the million dollar question!  You can forget approaching the local council  to ask for permission to detect  the local parks and common land. I can assure you the answer will be a resounding “no” which is quite understandable really. This leaves only a few options. You can either join a metal detecting club and/or  go on organised hunts and rallies, ( which may not entirely satisfy your appetite)  or you can take the bull by the horns , and knock on some landowners doors and get permission yourself. This is the  recommend path if you’re serious about detecting and want to find the good stuff. Think you’re up to that? What I’m trying to say is that there’s more to metal detecting than meets the eye. Its not quite as simple as buying a detector and you’re set.. You will soon run out of those local bits of land where you know you can ‘get away with it’ You are going to have to actively seek landowners permission. Be prepared to do this and you will have no problems. If you don’t think you can do this, I hope you live near the sea!

The Basics

There is only one way to guarantee you get the best out of your machine and not miss any targets. That is to hunt without any discrimination (all metal)  and dig every signal.  Having said that, its not really practicable unless you’re detecting in a junk free zone such as a countryside field, where signals of any kind are rare. It is my experience that you can trust your detectors ability to recognise and reject iron so use it! It will save you a lot of unproductive digging. However, always  try to keep discrimination/masking to a minimum.



12 Responses to New to Metal detecting?

  1. Joseph Smith says:

    Im travelling from Texas to Reading, UK for business and was hoping to get an opportunity to do a little swinging while there? My hotel and office are right on the Thames, which looks like public land. Is it legal for me to do some metal detecting there? Is there a permitting process? Based on the article above it kind of sounds like I should forget it, as I dont know anyone there who would be able to give me access to private land.

  2. Jason Walsh says:

    To my knowledge, the Crown Estate covers the beach foreshores, not the Thames. Here is a link to the Port of London Authority MD application.. Good luck!

  3. Sharkeysend says:

    Erm… my local council said yes actually, as long as I didn’t dig any sports pitches.

  4. Mark says:

    Wow.. Which council is that?

  5. Jots says:

    I’m new to meta detecting. Still deciding on a machine. I was just wondering if you go beach metal detecting, can you go along the ‘inlets’ i.e. where the rivers may cut into the land. Does anyone know about detecting on Scottish beach and around the sandy areas of islands e.g. Isle of Sky, Loch Duich sort of places where they flow from the sea.

  6. Muddog says:

    Hi I tried to renew a beach permit to do some metel detecting in Wales. It seems the crown estate, says I’m ok to detect without a permit. Would I be right about that. My last year’s permit ran out in Feb this year. Any info would be great

  7. robbie roth says:

    Hi I’m New to this too but been finding interesting stuff without a detector for years,can anyone tell me what would be the best detector to buy,not a beginners one I can only afford to get one and it may be from eBay as not loaded.a good one that can go deep etc .or whatever is the best all round one…..grateful for your advice Robbie

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