detecting – what a hobby!

Back in 2004 I bought a fairly cheap metal detector, I took it out a few times but never really connected with it or the hobby so it was left to gather dust in the garage. Then years later I happened to be flicking through the TV channels and came across this little gem of a comedy called ‘Detectorists’.

I completely fell in love with the show and this subsequently reignited my interest in detecting. This time round I decided to do things properly, I did a lot of research into various detectors, the pros and cons, read loads of reviews and blogs into all aspects of detecting so that I would be fully prepared and ready to enjoy this hobby.

I think most detectorists would agree that choosing your first detector is a bit of a minefield, but if you take enough time to do the research you will find something that suits you and your budget. I went with the Minelab Equinox 600 as it ticked a lot of boxes and so far has been a brilliant machine which has given me good results and hours of pleasure.

But it’s not just about having the detector, there are a whole load of accessories that make detecting so much easier and enjoyable. One accessory above all others that I personally couldn’t be without is the pinpointer. This little gadget makes finding the targets your detector picks up so much easier, it’s like having a trained sniffer dog that tells you exactly where the metal is! More often than not if I hit on a fairly shallow target I will stick the pointer in the ground to exactly locate the find so my holes are fairly small, neat and tidy. There are lots of other important accessories you will need like digging tools, finds bags, clothing etc and again there is a lot of choice in all these categories, so like with the detector it’s what best suits you and your budget.

The biggest stumbling block I think you will come across in the world of detecting is finding that first permission! To detect on private land you need the permission of the landowner and I guess this is where I lucked in. I knew that years ago, way before I was born in fact that my family used to be orchard farmers and did have quite a bit of land in and around my local area in Hertfordshire. As far as I knew this had all been sold off for housing but luckily for me it turns out the family kept a couple of fields so I had my first, and up until this point, only permission.

Part of a Saxon Cruciform Brooch dated 420 – 500.

Working Crotal Bell, dated late 1600’s – early 1700’s.

George V Silver Florin, this one is dated 1936.

I only started detecting again in September 2020 and quite obviously some of this time has been hampered by covid restrictions but so far I think I have done pretty well on the finds front. There hasn’t been a hoard of Roman or Saxon coins as yet but it turns out there has been quite a bit of activity in these fields over the years which you will see in this and future posts. My favourite find so far is what is believed to be part of a Saxon Cruciform Brooch (shown above) which has been dated by the curator of my local museum between 420 – 500.

I have recently joined a metal detecting group on social media. Generally the people on there have been really friendly and willing to help out with most questions I have had, they have also been an invaluable resource in providing info and identifications on my finds. I have also joined The National Council for Metal Detecting, another great resource for all kinds of information you will need to help you on your way.

I’ve not taken up this hobby with the sole purpose of finding a hoard of lost treasure (although it would be nice), I think the treasure is in connecting with the countryside, connecting with the history in objects that have been lost or left behind and very personally for me connecting with my own family’s past.

In detecting I have found a hobby that I truly love and one I know will keep me (and the dog) occupied and happy for years to come. Through this blog you can follow my detecting journey and the finds that will hopefully reveal the history of times gone by in my local area!