An Irish detecting site has just echoed the lament of countless British detectorists. They believe they should have access to state lands …. where many other groups already enjoy the hobby of their choice.”


It’s a claim to equivalence – on the grounds that metal detecting is just like rambling, birdwatching, kite flying and a host of other pastimes. But actually, there is no equivalence. People who pursue those other interests on public land don’t pocket public property. Simple really. That’s why most Councils, the National Trust and the Forestry Commission allow rambling and birdwatching and kite flying but not detecting.

Is there a solution? Of course there is! The decision would be entirely different if detectorists offered to keep to “the Surrey Council Premise” – detecting in a way similar to an archaeological survey with the landowners and the public being the main beneficiaries and “all finds being Council property.” But guess how many detectorists have proposed that?

No. Lower.


Permitted fun on Avebury Henge. No pocketing, see?

More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting