Metal Detecting on Farmland

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Tas13, Apr 7, 2016.


Would you allow metal detecting on your land?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  1. Tas13

    Tas13 New Member

    I have recently taken up the hobby of metal detecting and decided to approach some local Hertfordshire farmers to ask their permission to use their land to see what I could find. I was quite shocked at the aggressive responses I got from all but one farmer (who still said no, but in a polite way). I was very polite when speaking to the farmers, as I recognise I am a total stranger asking for a favour. I was wondering if any farmers here could share reasons why farmers dont seem to like metal detectors (all be it a conclusion from my very small sample of farmers). Have any of you had bad experiences? Are there things I am overlooking? I am starting to wonder if I have picked the right hobby, but thought I would try and get some feedback from actual landowners before giving up.

    Any feedback would be appreciated and could help change my approach perhaps.

  2. Benn

    Benn Member

    Maybe caught them at bad time being lambing or even calving,also I think because most farmers have been asked numerous times and it really asking something for nothing in return.
    Also most people (not all)think a farm is somehow public land were they can do what they like example today I had a teenager running around farm and even ended up getting into the ram feild which is a very dangerous thing to do.
    Maybe try asking about later in the year after harvest time and before lambing/calving starts
    Also make sure offer something in return.
    Not all farmers are grumpy get off me land types.
    The Craven Heifer likes this.
  3. franklin

    franklin New Member

    Sorry you spoke to some that were just impolite.

    I suppose a reason may be something like this: as soon as *anyone* sees you on a field with a detector, then that field becomes "fair game" for anyone else to just turn up and wander about on. They will ride horses over it; walk their dogs on it; take their detectors on it too. So its not really just metal detectorists. Its any member of the public. Try asking Joe Bloggs who lives in town if you can go and detect in their garden - think about what they would say in response. But surely much better chance of a find in a build-up area? But seriously, if you let *one* person on your land it simply becomes open season.

    Best way to do it:-

    1) Join a club.
    2) Get insurance.
    3) Club writes letter to farmer.
    4) Club offers a small token of cash - £5 per person say - donation to the local church or something like that (*not* RSPCA / Soil Association / Hunt Sabbateors / Pony Rescue etc - try something farmer -friendly like FCN

    Thats it. None of this "I'll be doing you a favour by getting rid of all that metal from your silage field" (implies farmer is messy and has random bits in their field). A token fee assures us that there will be no random chancers turn up. An insured club ensures we are dealing with folk with a reputation. Insurance stops the fear that, however good intentioned, some chap with a metal detector will get their foot in a rabbit hole; break a leg; and sue for lost earnings.

    Dont take it personally, but our land isnt an open space suitable for the public. Its our factory, our office or however you want to think of it.

    Join a club. It will be 100 times easier for you to get access. Club will have a list of folk who are fine with it, and hopefully a list of folk who have said "no" so many times that you really dont want to ask again.
  4. llamedos

    llamedos New Member

    Similar reason as stated above, allow one, and it becomes open season, although that first person may well be all above board and respectful, more often than not those who follow are not.
    Sadly we experienced the latter, and a pasture full of holes and lumps of metal found just thrown on the surface, and on asking them politely not to come back, being met with verbal abuse.
  5. Tas13

    Tas13 New Member

    Must say I wasn't expecting such detailed and helpful responses so quickly. Some really good points I had not considered. I have just signed up for insurance as suggested. The Hertfordshire club is full and not taking on any new members at the moment, but I can look a bit further afield.

    You have made so many good points. If a total stranger turned up on my doorstep asking to use my backyard I would say no, so I guess I should not expect anything different from farmers.

    I think I will try writing to farmers, that way if they want to respond they can rather than just turning up and putting them on the spot.

    In regards to offering a payment, as it's just me I don't imagine a tenner would be much of an incentive. I was thinking of offering a 50/50 split of everything I find. I plan on keeping everything I find as it's the history that interests me, but could just give the farmer cash equivalent to their half. Would this be incentive enough do you think?

    Once again really appreciate all the advice.

  6. Tas13

    Tas13 New Member

    You get people on your land without permission who then verbally abuse you??? I think I'm starting to understand the responses I got. I think I am more than a little nieve about the world of metal detecting.
    TripleSix and llamedos like this.
  7. franklin

    franklin New Member

    Thing is us farmers are a wise and highly intelligent bunch. We will expect you to come armed with the NCMD Model Agreement and would expect no less than 50% of the find value. The fiver, tenner, whatever is more of a show of face and would most likely be refused rather than anything else.

    I'd stick with the personal approach if you are not going to join a club, but there are reasons why the club will be full and that reason is that its pretty much the only way you will get on some land unless you can get an introduction to a farmer from someone else who knows them. Sorry if thats a bit of a downer. TRY VERY HARD TO JOIN A CLUB.
    llamedos likes this.
  8. Princess Pooper

    East Mids
    Welcome and sorry you had an unwelcome reception from some. We don't allow metal detecting on our land nowadays for several reasons. We did allow it back in the 1980's and the whole farm was probably scanned then anyway. We are now in a Stewardship scheme and we're not supposed to allow any metal detecting without getting permission from Natural England and to be frank it's not worth the hassle. I did relent a few years ago as someone spotted a part-field of freshly ploughed land next to the road and came and asked. I reluctantly said yes but for him only - no mates - and only on the ploughed land. Lo and behold 3 days later a couple of vans drew up and 3 blokes started detecting beyond the plough on unturned land. I gave the one I had spoken to an ear wigging and said he was never coming here again. So others have abused the opportunity given to them. We probably get a new request for metal detecting - either an email, or a tweet, or a letter through the post, or popped through the letter box ONCE A MONTH. And if anything of historic but non-monetary value was found I would want it anyway as it is part of the history of our farm and of interest me and the school groups that we have visiting - even my display of heavy horse shoes is a good talking point. Good luck anyway.
    JCMaloney likes this.
  9. Tractor Boy

    Tractor Boy Member

    The reason I would say no is that we have been plagued in the past by night hawkers. They are basically thieves as there is no other reason why they come at night other than in the hope they find something valuable that they don't have to declare to the landowner or archaeology department. We do, however, farm on a site of an ancient archaeological monument which due to the stupidity of the Internet is flagged up to anyone who might like to chance their luck!
    Unfortunately a few bad detectorists have soured it for everyone.
    JCMaloney likes this.
  10. Wink

    Wink Member

    The farm we used to keep outdoor pigs on would let a certain amount of metal detectors on. It was a significant site and that Scottish chap with long hair from was it coast to coast? came to film once. Also, I regularly see these metal detecting midweek groups around the area so that is a good call to join one of these clubs and you will find suitable land owners to ask.

    I am not a landowner just a tenant on pieces of land but as others have said the feeling seems to be "give an inch take a Mile" . If you allow one person the whole neighbourhood sees it as fair game etc and things quickly get out if hand. Sorry to hear of your bad experience but lots have probably been burnt and it's easier to say no unless it's an organised thing sometimes. The same as I personally love to explain to people what were doing etc but if I catch someone wandering where their not supposed to be etc. they will soon know about it!
  11. Wink

    Wink Member

    From above - referring to Neil Oliver who presented Coast.
  12. spikeislander

    spikeislander Member

    We get asked all the time but the thing is my dad has got one and I think it's a hobby he wants to do when and if he slows down farming. If theres any treasure in them there hills he wants to find it.
    Wink likes this.
  13. I love farmers

    I love farmers New Member

    I think you'll find that the reason you're being night-hawked is because you don't allow anybody to detect on your land. If you did, you could put rules in place and ensure that nothing untoward was going on. As you don't allow it, people take it upon themselves to detect at night, being messy and going anywhere they want to.
    You could even charge for detecting (I know how much you tractor boys love your money).
    I thought even a farmer could work this one out!
  14. 7610 super q

    7610 super q Member

    Hmmmm.............let's hope the night hawkers don't run into the pikeys illegally shooting at night types.........

    Accident waiting to happen.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  15. grimmy

    grimmy Member

    We spend alot of time and money on our fields..from harrowing, sliterating, rolling and muck spreading to the management of grazing and hay and silage making. If nothing is grazing a field its shut up for the grass to grow.
    There is never a good time or £amount to justify letting someone wonder around digging holed in it (that's what the badgers are for)

    We don't want to be mean but we are trying to make a living and the offer of a fiver and 50% of something we own anyway isn't exactly a lost business opportunity
    Jackov Altraids and 7610 super q like this.
  16. abitdaft

    abitdaft Member

    P!sh!! How does having rules in place change anything? Or are you saying that because permission is denied that they basically help themselves at night? If so not really a good advert for allowing MDing as going by your logic MD's are untrustworthy anyway.
    JCMaloney, 7610 super q and Red Fred like this.
  17. abitdaft

    abitdaft Member

    In reply to the OP, if you can't join a club or get permission, print off Crown Foreshore maps as you can legally detect Crown beaches.
  18. Princess Pooper

    East Mids
    Another complete stranger knocking on the door wanting metal detecting today..
  19. Christoph1945

    Christoph1945 Member

    Don't mind me; I'm just going to shoot my self in the foot.

    I hated being harangued at the door, or on the phone, by folk posing as sales reps. My front door now shows a legally binding notice to tell sales people not to bother knocking and to move on. It works quite well.

    Our phone system also intercepts all incoming calls and insists that callers identify them selves before being allowed to be connected. Simples! ;)

    Perhaps a polite notice on the farm gate would reduce the number of visits you write of.
  20. JCMaloney

    JCMaloney Member

    LE3 9EU
    From a club organisers view......... and as highlighted above there is a two way street involved.
    1. When you want to join a club what are you offering to bring to the table?
    2. We have a capped membership of 60... why? Ever tried parking 60 cars?
    3. We have a waiting list, folk have to turn up to a few meetings first, then they get invited to a dig with a club member chaperoning them, that means they learn the basics.....filling holes, rubbish in the scrap bin, showing finds for photographing etc.
    4. In the background......... the club are communicating with landowners,farmers, contractors, estate managers, game keepers etc who all work the land for their businesses earlier it is their factory/office.
    5. Finds...... landowners property and there needs to be a degree of understanding as to what happens especially where the exchange of ££ takes place. We generally set a sensible value level negotiated with the landowner, we still show them everything historical, of interest and the "junk".
    6. Finds must be recorded with PAS to comply with stewardship schemes, a club ensures this happens as we are point of contact for the FLO.
    7. Treasure is governed by law.
    What really really riles me are the folk who don`t let the landowner see what they find.Closely followed by those who try & run detecting "groups" as a business, I know of one that charges £25 a day but pays the farmer less than 50%, we hand over 100% because we aren`t a business.
    Finally there are many who ruin the hobby for others by treating landowners like "wealthy folk who don`t need it" or "just farmers" with no concept of the reality of the job.

    If it was down to me the hobby would be formally licenced and better controlled for the benefit of both detectorist and landowner.
    holwellcourtfarm and little_p like this.

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