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So You Fancy a go at Metal Detecting...
Where Do I Start

Where do I start, what do I need, where can I go, what can I read, we hear you say. Well first of all lets not start running before we can walk.

Metal detecting like any hobby is not cheap and you don't want to go out and buy all the top gear, clothing, boots, books, and detector to find out after a couple of outing that, well its not for you.

We recommend that you first buy yourself a magazine and have a read, there are a couple of magazines out there that support the hobby, The Searcher and Treasure Hunting, there both a cracking read, and you will find under the covers many articles, readers letters, news, reviews and shops selling detectors and items related to detecting etc.

The next step If your still interested is to either find a local metal detecting club in your area where you can go along and talk to people who think, live, and breath metal detecting, somebody at the club is bound to have a spare detector and would be willing to let you have a go, or if you have a friend that has a metal detector, ask them if they will take you out on one of their sites and let you have go.

The Equipment

Still with us, still fancy having a go at metal detecting?, Now is the time that you will need your own metal detector, something to dig with, some headphones, and don't forget clothes and boots.

When buying a detector don't just jump in and buy the best money can buy, unless your loaded and really don't care about cost.

Talk to your detecting friend(s), or people you met at the club and listen to what they have to say about their own machines, find out what's good, what's bad, read some detector reviews, get a good picture of what's out there and then consider what make of machine you want, what qualities does it need, where will you be doing your detecting, how much you want to spend, when you've got all this in mind, its time to visit a shop and try a few out, metal detecting shops always have demo machines for you to handle.

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Still bear in mind that after all this, metal detecting may still not be for you, so think about possibly buying your first detector secondhand out of the paper, or a shop or from Ebay, but don't buy one of those cheap crappy ones that you can't locate in the magazines or detecting shops, you'll be very disappointed and will almost surely give up.

Spend what you can afford, between £200-£400 will get you a tidy secondhand machine without breaking the bank and again if detecting isn't for you, you will be able to re-sell your detector for a similar price what you paid.

When buying you metal detector from a shop, a big advantage is that the detector you buy will come with warranty and they some times throw in kits consisting of a digger, a set of headphones, and a unit cover etc.
This depends on the shop and what you pay for your detector, check in the magazines or give the shop a call. The disadvantage is, again if detecting isn't for you, don't expect to re-sell it at the price you paid for it, after all its now secondhand.

If we didn't get our detector new from a shop with one of their kits, then we need to look at the other items that make up our detecting kit.

A set of headphones, there are various around ranging from £12(not spectacular, but they work) to around £90(top of the range) but to us one set sticks out vividly, they are tried and tested and we would highly recommend them, Predator ML are superb headphones and come to you at £65.

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A digger, there are various type, sizes, lengths, there's big ones, and small ones.This is personal preference really and you don't have to purchase from a detecting shop, you could use a stainless steel trowel from Wilko for around £9 or you could buy a draper mini shovel from B&Q for around £15. At detector finds we use a specially developed digger made from stainless steel, with a sharp blade, foot assisted, long handle (just over a foot long), called a Black Ada. They are very strong, easy to use, don't rust and are easy to carry and will set you back about £38.

To finish off your detecting kit you'll need a good pair of boots, some wellington's just in case of bad weather and need to keep you warm and dry, a jacket for summer and winter use, and a finds pouch, there is lots of other stuff that you can add, but these are the essential items.

Get To Know Your Detector
 
Do Some Research

Get to know the area where you will be detecting, whether it is local or not. Unless your a historian, archeologist etc you will be suprised how much you dont actually know about your local area or the area you are visiting.

Buy a map of your local area this is always a good starting point and will show areas of interest, like moats, baileys, abandoned villages, churches, medieval ponds, footpaths etc.

You could then follow these areas of interest up by visiting the local library, they always have information on the local area, newspaper information, local history books, seek and ye will find.

We have also entered the age of technology, so dont forget the internet, do some googling, computerised mapping software and dont forget good old fashioned books, and the list goes on, there are lots of avenues for you to take, so go on what you waiting for...

 

Get Some Land

We should be already now and if you managed to join your local club you'll be on the fields, parks, and beaches in no time, If you didn't like many of us, as they restrict their membership numbers, you go on a waiting list and you wait and you wait. Now comes the hard part, Now we need to find some land to detect on.

Actually, its not that hard, but you do need to put the effort in by going around your local farms and talking to the landowner, occupier, farmer and basically ask them if you can go metal detecting on their land, don't beat around the bush ask them outright, we would say that 75% of the time you'll get a yes answer. Writing letters, emailing or using the telephone is another method of gaining permission, but is not as effective as being there in person, except where some farms have a sign saying no visitors without an appointment, then you have no other option but to write or telephone.

Don't forget when you've got some permission, make an agreement with the land owner / occupier, just in case you find that dream 't of hoard or rare artifact, it avoids any misunderstandings over items that may be found of value and sets out a 50/50 share.

We've already prepared a permission/agreement form for you in the downloads section of detector finds, take one with you and don't forget a pen.

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Need Insurance

There are two types of insurance that you will need, well actually you can go without, but read on.

Equipment insurance can either be done on a seperate basis and will probably cost you around £15-£20 for the year.

The best way to do it though is to include your detecting stuff on your home content insurance, ensure the policy is new for old and accidental damage is included, this way you will get the full price of your detector minus any excess of course, just in case the worst does happen. This should only cost a few extra quid on your annual policy. The policy should also cover your detecting equipment while away from home ie when your on a rally and its stored securely in your car (always best to check the small print first though).

Liabilty insurance, this is for when you out on the fields and a gate is not shut properly and the farmers prize bull escapes and gets knocked down by a steam roller and your going to get sued, heavens above where you going to find the money to replace that one then???? This really happens, especially if you use common sense and follow the detecting code

Where do you get liability insurance well you could get your own, but the best way is to join F.I.D or NCMD, they include liability insurance with their annual membership, most people have this anyway as it is a requirement for attending most rallies these days.

Thats your lot really, go out and enjoy yourself, we do.

The Lads at DetectorFinds.

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