Metal detecting for treasure in the UK can be fun! Important helpful advice here

Metal detecting for treasure in the UK ( for ancient artifacts, coins and other relics ) has become a very popular recreational activity over the last few years and there are numerous metal detecting enthusiasts and clubs across the country. 

You can join metal detecting clubs in the UK if you’re interested in treasure hunting and this can be a great way to connect with like-minded individuals, learn from experienced detectorists, and access club-organized outings to search for artifacts and relics. These clubs often have established codes of conduct and guidelines to ensure responsible metal detecting.

metal detecting for treasure

Joining a metal detecting club can be a fun and educational way to engage in this hobby while also contributing to the preservation of the UK’s archaeological heritage.


  1. England: In England, metal detecting for archaeological objects is legal, but you must adhere to the laws and guidelines set forth in the Treasure Act 1996 and the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Finds considered “treasure” must be reported to the local coroner within 14 days, and the finder and landowner may be entitled to a reward. The definition of “treasure” is relatively broad, but it typically includes items that are at least 300 years old and have a certain level of precious metal content. Non-treasure finds must also be reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

  2. Scotland: Metal detecting in Scotland is regulated by the Treasure Trove system. If you find any archaeological objects, including coins and artifacts, you are legally obligated to report them to the Treasure Trove Unit. The unit will assess the items, and if they are considered treasure trove, they become the property of the Crown. Finders may be entitled to a reward.

  3. Wales: Wales follows the same rules as England regarding metal detecting. The Treasure Act 1996 and the Portable Antiquities Scheme apply here. Finders are encouraged to report their discoveries to the local Finds Liaison Officer.

  4. Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland has its own set of rules and regulations governing metal detecting and archaeological finds. It is essential to consult with the Department for Communities – Historic Environment Division for guidance on metal detecting in Northern Ireland.

  5. Private Land: It’s crucial to obtain permission from landowners before metal detecting on private land. Trespassing without permission is illegal, and you could face legal consequences.

  6. Scheduled Monuments and Protected Areas: Metal detecting is prohibited on scheduled monuments and protected archaeological sites without special permission.

Please remember that these rules can change, and local bylaws may also apply. It’s crucial to stay updated with the latest regulations and to act responsibly when metal detecting to help preserve the historical and archaeological heritage of the UK. Always consult with local authorities, landowners, and archaeologists when in doubt.


Here are some steps to help you get started:

  1. Research Metal Detecting Clubs: Look for metal detecting clubs in your local area or in areas where you plan to do your searches. You can find clubs through online searches, social media, or by asking at local hobby shops.

  2. Contact the Club: Reach out to the club to inquire about membership. Many clubs have websites or social media pages with contact information. You can also attend club meetings or events to learn more and meet members in person.

  3. Membership Requirements: Each club may have its own membership requirements, such as annual fees or adherence to a code of ethics. Make sure you understand and meet these requirements.

  4. Participate in Club Activities: Once you become a member, you can participate in club activities, including organized metal detecting for treasure outings. These outings may take place on private land with landowner permission or in areas where metal detecting is permitted.

metal detecting for treasure

  1. Learn from Experienced Detectorists: Clubs often have experienced members who can offer guidance, tips, and advice to newcomers. Take advantage of this knowledge to improve your skills and understanding of responsible metal detecting.

  2. Follow Local Laws and Regulations: Even when you’re part of a club, it’s crucial to follow all local laws and regulations regarding metal detecting, reporting finds, and obtaining permissions to search on private land.

  3. Respect the Environment and Archaeology: Metal detecting clubs often emphasize responsible metal detecting, which includes leaving no trace, properly disposing of trash, and reporting significant finds to relevant authorities when required.

Make sure to check the specific rules and activities of the club you’re interested in, as they may vary from one club to another.


Metal detecting for treasure has gained a considerable following over the years as evidenced by the growing memberships of the clubs in the UK. High-profile finds, such as valuable hoards of coins or historically significant artifacts, have received media attention and generated lots of interest in metal detecting as a part time leisure activity


2 thoughts on “Metal detecting for treasure in the UK can be fun! Important helpful advice here

  1. One of the things a few of us American detectorists have discussed is how many detectorists are in the UK and if you take the land in the UK, the laws *where and you can detect), and amount of detectorists in the area you realize how good some of the detectorists are to compete in such an area to get finds.

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