May 11, 2018 by Chris Chapman
All You Need to Know to Get Started with this Fun Family Activity
Metal detectors might not be the first thing you think of when you’re looking for a new hobby or a fun family activity, but trust us; there’s nothing quite like it! Metal detecting is a unique thrill that combines hiking and exploring the outdoors with a treasure-hunting adventure. It’s a great way to get yourself and your kids some fresh air and exercise and can be a really rewarding activity. Who knows, you may even find something valuable! There are thousands of secrets hidden just below the ground, and all you need to do is unearth them!
If you’re looking into metal detecting as a fun summer activity, then read on; our guide will give you everything you need to know to strike gold!
Get a Metal Detector
Before you start styling yourself as the next Indiana Jones, you’ll need the proper gear! As always with technology, it’s important not to go too cheap as you want the product to work properly, but it’s also important not to overspend on a load of features that you don’t really need. When looking for a metal detector, you should always balance these two things and come down in the middle. You can always upgrade to an all-singing-all-dancing metal detector later on if you get really into it!
We stock a quality range of metal detectors, but for beginners, we’d recommend looking at this Mylek Metal Detector. It’s very affordable but is still high quality, and as it’s designed for beginners, it’s light and easy to use, so it’s ideal for children and families too. This metal detector also comes with a set of headphones and a trowel, making it comfortably the best value metal detector on the market. As it can detect gold and silver as well as all other kinds of metal, who knows – it might even pay for itself one day!
Plan Your Route
It’s always smart to make sure you know where you’re going before you go out metal detecting. You don’t want to wander into someone’s back yard and start digging it up! It’s actually illegal to use a metal detector in certain areas (such as Ministry of Defence sites), so it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you do want to do some metal detecting on private property, make sure you always ask for permission first!
Beaches, fields, and public woodlands are all great spots to try out your metal detector, so pick one out on a map before you go. This way you can check to make sure you’ll stay on public land. If you’ve got kids, this is also a great way to teach them a few orienteering and survival skills. You never know when they’ll need those!
Do Some Research
If you’re someone who loves history as well as the thrill of adventure, doing a bit of research can go a long way! Websites like oldmapsonline.org will let you look up old maps for pretty much anywhere in the world. How does this help you hunt for treasure? Well, old maps will show you if what is now deserted woodland was once populated with houses or other buildings. The relics of these old homes could still be lying just under the ground, so they represent your best bet for getting some interesting finds! Looking at the history of your area and going out to discover traces of it for yourself is immensely satisfying and is a great way to get kids engaged in local history.
Be Safe, Use Common Sense
This applies to everything in life, really, but especially metal detecting! Part of the thrill of metal detecting is that you never know what’s beneath your feet, but that can be a negative thing as well as a positive. If you strike lucky, be very gentle when digging up your find. You don’t know if what you’ve found will be sharp or otherwise dangerous. There are also still semi-regular reports of metal detectors finding unexploded WWII bombs buried in the ground, so on the off chance you suspect you might have found one, don’t take chances! Get out of there and give the police a call immediately.
Generally, though, these dangers are very rare and as long as you use common sense, you’ll be fine!
If you get that amazing first beep on your metal detector, it’s understandable if you get a bit excited. However, it’s important not to just tear into the ground and leave giant holes everywhere! For one, it’s unsafe, as we outlined above. You also need to remember that even if you’re on public land, other people will want to walk through it at some point too! Take care not to leave potholes fo
r other families to stumble into.
Luckily, the proper digging technique when metal detecting is dead easy. Just use your trowel – such as the one you’ll get included in the Mylek Metal Detector – to dig a horseshoe shape into the ground. You can then flip this patch of soil out and see what’s down there! Once you’re done, just flip the patch of soil back into the hole and you’re done! Usually, this only works when there’s grass there to hold the soil together, but if the soil is too loose, you can just scrape it back into the hole to fill it.
Look After Your Finds
What we’re about to say might shock you, especially as it’s coming from us, but be very wary about cleaning your finds too much! If you think you’ve found something valuable like an old coin, don’t let any cleaning products or chemicals near it. If it’s really caked in dirt, the most you should do is give it a gentle brush. This is especially true if you’re planning on selling your finds, as a lot of the things you’ll find will be incredibly fragile and even the slightest damage can completely wipe out their value. Many collectors will actually consider anything that’s clean to be damaged no matter what, so bear this in mind!
Top UK Metal Detector Finds
- Jersey, June 2012: Amateur metal detectorists found a stash of 50,000 Roman coins from 50-60 BC. The hoard was worth a staggering £14m (no, that’s not a typo!)!
- Staffordshire, 2009: After asking for permission from a local farmer, a treasure hunter found £3.3m worth of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver on a farm. The two fell out over splitting the payout.
- Galloway, 2014: A man and his metal detector found 1000-year-old Viking artefacts in a public field. The find was valued at £2m.
- Hoxne, 1992: A massive stash of Roman gold and silver was found on farmland in Suffolk. At the time it was worth £1.8m, which adjusted for inflation is about £3.3m!
- Lenborough, 2007: A metal detecting rally struck gold with a hoard of 5000 Anglo-Saxon coins worth £1.4m!