Preparation for a Metal Detecting Trip to England
By: Sarah Lohberger and Lee Wiese
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A major portion of this article was
contributed by an individual who has gone on many metal detecting trips to
England. I would like to acknowledge Sarah Lohberger, who is very active in
her metal detecting club the Treasure Hunters Society of Santa Clara Valley
(THSSCV) of California. Sarah and husband (Dan) both hold or have held club
offices and are active members of the club’s board. I would like to thank
Sarah for her time, knowledge, and expertise in helping to make this article
Contact Sarah at: email@example.com
Are you are thinking about taking a metal detecting trip to England for that
once in a life time metal detecting target.
One reason to select England is that the
country has been populated with a variety of cultures much longer (several
thousand years) than the U.S. therefore the metal detecting finds can be
very old and sometimes very valuable.
You may think to yourself, ”How do I prepare for an overseas metal detecting
adventure of this magnitude?”
The objective of this article is to provide
answers to important questions about such a trip. However the article will
probably leave you with some questions that you must answer as you move
forward with your research and planning.
The very first thing you must do is to educate yourself about the
requirements associated with metal detecting in England. If you decide to go
to Scotland the laws are some what different and they will not be covered in
Below is a list of important websites that should be read before starting
your trip preparations. It is very important to read the content of these
sites so that you have a good understanding about metal detecting in
England. This will be important for either setting up your own metal
detecting trip or enlisting the services of an England Tour Organizer.
While going over the website list; take notes so that you can create a list
of questions that can be asked of Tour Organizers and others while
researching the trip.
Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting in England and Wales
Council for British Archaeology
Council for British Archaeology | Home
National Council for Metal Detecting (NCMD)
Portable Antiquities Scheme
Treasure Act 1996
Next, you will need to make sure you have a current passport for travel. If
your passport is expired or you do not have a passport one can be obtained
through your local United Sates Post Office (USPS). This process can take
6-10 weeks; advanced planning for a passport is essential.
USPS Website Passport Services:
Along with obtaining a passport one should also check to see whether a visa
is required for the trip. You can access this website to validate any visa
UK Border Agency Website:
UK Visas and Immigration - GOV.UK
While traveling to England you will also need a secondary photo ID to
support your passport.
How to choose a trip sponsor?
The suggestion is to get other detectorist
opinions that have gone on a trip or two to England and read testimonies of
others on the various Tour Organizer websites. If you have trouble locating
someone that has gone on an English detecting trip go on the internet and
select one or more of the metal detecting forums then pose your questions
and ask for feedback and recommendations. Also email the Tour Organizers
that are under consideration; asking questions about how they handle tours
and what services they offer.
Any recommendations received from a detectorist, who has been on an English
detecting trip should be given serious consideration towards making a final
Remember: Research, Research, Research
Should you travel with a Tour Organizer or go independently?
The advice is
to go on your first England metal detecting trip with a Tour Organizer as
you must abide by all aspects of the Treasure Act in regards to any find.
The Tour Organizer has exclusive contracts with farmers to hunt their land.
Plus they have the skill to identify your finds, handle all of the export
paper work and if your find is a Treasure as defined by the Treasure Act
they report the find to the local museum officials.
If you were to independently travel to England you would need to locate land
to detect, identify the owner, gain written permission, contact local
officials for finds identification, handle export paperwork and make all
other arrangements to meet the requirements of the Treasure Act. This could
be a big deal if it’s your first trip.
Should you select an all inclusive trip or setup your own air travel & other
If you want to save some money, the recommendation is, make
your own flight reservations and accommodations for the first night’s stay.
The rest of the metal detecting tour should be included in the Tour
If you do not want to take responsibility for any part of the tour then
select an all inclusive tour where one fee pays for everything.
What should the length of stay be?
The decision to go one week, two weeks or
ten days should be based on your physical heath’ financial situation and
your desire to metal detect 10-12 hours per day. A good compromise is ten
days. One should consider dividing the trip into two sections: first section
of the trip devoted to metal detecting and the second section of the trip to
sightseeing. This would be a good time to have your non-hunting spouse join
you as there is nothing for them to do during the first week.
Generally, the tour group you are with will want to metal detect from 7:00
AM until dark. (Long Days)
What is the best time of the year?
In March and October there is more bare
land available as there are no crop in the fields or stubble from the past
years growth crop.
You should expect rain or snow in England. Occasionally you’ll have
warmer weather but remember you need to have raingear handy at all times as
it can rain often during your metal detecting days.
Expect rain. Some days are very warm and again it can rain at any
What transportation is availability once in the country?
Buses and taxes are
available at the airport and can take you to your hotel for the first
Depending upon the type of tour you are taking transportation may be all
inclusive in the tour price and wherever you need to go the transportation
The Tour Organizer will drive you to the detecting field every morning. At
lunch time they will return with a meal and you can either stay in that
field or change to another location. This may not be exactly the same for
all Tour Organizers.
Some Tour Organizers may have a vehicle at the detecting location and others
may drop you off and pick you up later. You need to verify this with the
Tour Organizer before signing on the dotted line.
What are the living conditions like?
The living conditions range from
private homes, individual lodges on private lands and standard motels. The
living conditions will vary based on the Tour Organizer and location of the
Are there meals available?
If you have an all inclusive tour most likely all
the meals will be included in the price. Lunch is brought to the hunt field
with breakfast and dinner at your lodging.
Other types of tours may have the breakfast and lunch provided but not the
evening meal. Some people may prefer to go out to a local pub in the
Food can also be purchased. There are excellent grocery stores in England.
Some of the smaller villages also have butcher shops.
How much clothing should be taken for the trip and are there laundry
There may be laundry facilities available where you are staying.
This is one of those items that needs to be verified with your Tour
Organizer once you are about to select your accommodation. If laundry
facilities are available then less clothing will be required.
The suggestion is to pack one set of clothing that will be used just for
metal detecting since you will frequently encounter muddy fields. No one
seems to care how dirty or muddy you get in the fields so just hang the gear
up and put it on for the next day’s detecting.
Rain gear is very important and the recommendation is to be willing to spend
money for good rain gear that will last the entire trip. To complement the
rain gear you will need good boots Muck boots are used by many detectorists
on these trips. Don’t forget gloves it can be cold and muddy (three pairs of
rubber palmed gloves for detecting). In the spring disposable hand
warmers come in handy.
You should plan on dressing in layers since the morning hours can be fairly
cold. However, the day can warm up and shirt sleeve attire will later be
adequate especially during a fall day. You may need to use sunscreen to keep
from getting a sun burn.
Once in England, what security requirement should be taken for your personal
items and detectors?
The suggestion is to take valuables with you to the
hunt field and leave the backpack in the locked vehicle or carry the pack.
The vehicle key can be hid close by for all to use in case you need your
back pack or just want to collapse on a seat and rest.
How much currency should you take?
The recommendation is to get your English
pounds from the London airport ATM as they seem to have the best rate. Get
enough moneys (400 to 500 pounds) to handle paying for part of any van
rental, occasionally eating at the pubs and of course shopping for
souvenirs. You should also have enough spare money in case there is some
sort of emergency.
Should you take travelers’ checks? Travelers’ checks are accepted in most
areas that are frequented by tourists; to avoid additional charges they
should be acquired and taken in Pound Sterling.
What type of credit cards should be taken? There are places that don’t take
American Express in England. The advice is to take a Visa and Master Card
credit cards. It is recommended to call the card companies before you leave
the U.S. to inform them of the countries you will be visiting.
Should you purchase travel insurance?
Setting up a metal detecting trip
usually has a fairly long lead time (four to six months). Many things can
happen over that period of time; the recommendation is to strongly consider
to purchasing a good travel insurance policy. There have been people who had
to cancel a trip and lost their money because they didn’t have travel
is one reputable provider. Even
cancellations as a result of preexisting conditions are covered provided you
purchase the insurance within 14 days of your first trip deposit.
Should you contact the U.S. Embassy letting them know you will be in a
Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so the
State Department can better assist you in an emergency. Let the State
Department know of your travel plans through the Smart Traveler Enrollment
Program. This is a free online service at
. This will help the State
Department if they need to contact you concerning any family emergency or if
there is a crisis in the country you are traveling.
Should you get vaccinations for England?
You should visit your doctor and
make sure that you are caught up with all your vaccinations. Your doctor
should know if any further shots are needed for the location you’re
Should you check your medical insurance overseas coverage?
Ask your medical
insurance company if your policy applies overseas, and if it covers
emergency expenses such as medical evacuation. If it does not, you may want
to consider supplemental insurance to cover this expensive area.
There have been occasions on an England metal detecting trip where there was
a need to go to a local doctor. For this service there was no charge for the
office call or the medication.
In the UK, prescription drugs are free in Wales, Scotland and in England
there may be a charge per item, over the counter drugs are available to
Are there emergency medical services available where you are going?
You should check in advance with your Tour Organizer about emergency medical
facilities in the area you will be visiting. This may vary from location to
location in the country.
Should you take additional medicine? If so how much?
Take at least one
additional week’s medications in case you have a travel problem and may need
to stay longer. It is always wise to be prepared for the un-expected.
Will U.S. cell phones work in England?
Most countries including England,
Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland use a GSM wireless protocol. If you want the
convenience of carrying a cellular phone, then you will need a GSM cell
Most U.S. phone services will not work in U.K. the exception may be T-Mobile
and Cingular but check with them before leaving and be aware of heavy
Cell phones can usually be rented by the week in England.
Is there internet access offered by the Tour Organizer?
internet is available either through the lodging provider or you may gain
internet access with permission from a local business.
Local pubs may also have wi-fi service.
Is an A.C. power conversion kit required?
Yes, you will need to have an AC
conversion plug that can work with England’s AC receptacles. These will be
required for charging batteries, to charge a laptop and to use other forms
of U.S. personal electrical appliance. I would suggest taking two AC
conversion adaptors on a trip to England.
How to transport your detectors and other gear?
On the flight over pack one
complete detector, the electronics for a second detector and raingear in
your carry on luggage. If the checked luggage is delayed, you will still be
able to go detecting. All target recovery tools will need to be in your
It is always wise to carry the detectors electronics in your carry on
luggage since it is very sensitive to damage and expensive to replace.
Also carry a change of clothing in the carry on luggage if room is
What type of additional gear should be taken on the trip?
using metal detectors in a remote location from your primary residence
requires some planning. Putting together a metal detector repair kit to take
on your travels can turn a potentially disastrous broken metal detector
situation into a great trip. The kit can handle repairs for two different
major detector brands. The contents are:
- Two Lower Rods (different types)
- Tie Wraps: 4 & 8 inch
- Roll of Black Tape
- Plastic Bags for Detector Rain Cover
- Spare Headphones
- Lower Rod Bolts and Bushings
- Two Stainless Arm Cup Bolts
- Multi-Purpose Tool
- Screw Driver (Common & Phillips)
- Knife and Set of Small Allen Wrenches
- Spare Knob and Rubber Seal Lubricate
- Two Rod Stainless Spring Clips
- First Aid Kit
This kit should model your detectors hardware and may have a slightly
different content based on the detector model however it needs to be
equipped well enough to handle emergency detector repairs in the field. If
traveling by plane always keep the kit in your checked luggage. Put the kits
small items into a heavy duty zip-lock bag for transportation. Use zip-lock
bags to hold down the air travel weight factor.
The recommendation is to take two detectors on a trip. The detectorist
should be very familiar with each detector, never take a detector you have
little or no operational experience with on a trip.
Some detecting locations have many small metal targets in the ground the
suggestion; take a small coil for these situations. Normally take the
largest search coil you can comfortably use since a larger coil covers more
area and the fields are huge.
The popular detectors used on these trips are the Minelab E-trac, Fisher
F-75 and White’s MXT.
The recommendation is to have a ‘swingy thing’ to help in handling the
detector’s weight. Detecting for 10 – 12 hours a day can be tough on the
back. There may be days the mud builds up so badly your detector feels like
it weighs a ton. In these cases it’s good to have your digging knife to
scrap mud off the detector’s coil and to clean your boots.
Last put not least;
create a list of personal items to take to the hunt
field in your back pack. Be prepared for all emergencies.
What does a trip organizer furnish in the way of detecting tools?
one of those questions that can vary with each Tour Organizer, some supply
digging tools others may not.
For a reasonable charge the Tour Organizer may have a few detectors
available to rent if yours doesn’t arrive or if it should become defective.
How many batteries to take on the trip?
(AA or Rechargeable?) Many
rechargeable units have been fried in England so it probably should not be
your primary source of battery power. However, taking one rechargeable
battery and charger should be on the packing list.
This is where you need to know your detector and how long you can use it on
one set of batteries. If you are going to detect seven days I would suggest
eight sets of batteries.
Batteries can be purchased in England but they are very expensive. March
2011 a purchase of 24 AA batteries cost 22 pounds. That’s over $35.00 US.
However, battery prices should be virtually the same in either country.
What should one's expectations be on finds?
The Tour Organizer does not
‘plant’ targets in the hunt fields. So you’re better off not to expect
anything of importance. You’ll find whatever your detector’s coil is swung
over. You can go several trips and not find anything exciting or you can
find a fantastic relic on your very first trip.
Can you take all your finds home?
You cannot take any of your current trip’s
finds home when you depart. All finds that are returned to you must have
export paper work and this takes time. The finds can be mailed to you or you
can pick them up on your next trip.
If you have any finds of great value, it would be best to have someone bring
them home for you or pick them up yourself.
Keep in mind that valuable finds put in checked
luggage have on occasion not made it back to the U.S.
destination. It is suggested that you place valuable finds in your carry on
luggage. No sharp items in the carry on luggage they must go in checked
Oh yeah, you’ll be hooked after one trip and will be back. Even if you find
very little, the other people will be finding very interesting items. It’s
just too exciting of an experience when you realize that if you had walked
right instead of left you would have found it!
How does that finds’ reporting process work?
On tours, the Tour Organizer
should do all the finds paperwork. The Tour Organizer will report any
treasure find to the museum. Again, it is best to have read the English
Treasure Act before you leave on the tour. Paperwork goes through the
Coroner in the local area and yes, the coroner does the same thing in
England as they do in the U.S. plus they processes export license.
What can be expected of the England’s customs?
Sarah has only heard of one
person who had his finds checked by English customs. She brings home a heavy
bag of finds from a previous trip and has never been questioned.
What other activities are available during the evening hours?
After 10 -12
hours a day metal detecting other activities may not be high on one’s list.
Generally, all of the living areas have television and there are usually
pubs located within a few miles.
Going on a metal detecting trip takes a good deal of advanced
planning, research and making that all important final decision “what Tour
Organizer to sign on with for the trip”. Hopefully, this question and answer
article will provide you with enough information and material so that you
can develop a list of your own. Do your own research so that you will have a
very successful metal detecting adventure in England.