July 1st, 2020 by
We’ve now been in lockdown for what feels like a very long time and with many of the activities that we would usually do unavailable to us, we all need to get a bit more creative about keeping the kids, and the adults, entertained!
One activity that you may not have considered, and yet ticks lots of boxes for lockdown, is metal detecting. This is actually a serious hobby for many; there are estimated to be around 30,000 ‘detectorists’ in the UK. However, it’s also a very easy and fun activity to take up. With beginner metal detector kits starting at less than the price of a family cinema ticket, it’s something that anyone can do.
Why is metal detecting a good lockdown activity?
There are several reasons why metal detecting is a great fit for lockdown:
- It’s an outdoor activity
Lockdown rules permit us to go outdoors as much as we want and this includes being able to drive to locations outside our local area
- It’s inexpensive
We’re all a bit more aware of outgoings at the moment in this period of uncertainty but metal detecting is very inexpensive. With prices for entry-level detectors starting at just £35.99, you can have hours and hours of entertainment for just a tiny investment
- It makes exercise fun
Kids and adults alike can find going for walks a bit boring but add in a treasure hunt and it elevates your exercise to a really fun activity
- It’s educational
Homeschooling is hard work but with metal detecting, you can build in some great teaching without children even realising it’s a lesson. Finding out about the history of finds or the properties of different metals can really bring a new element to learning. You could even encourage them to create stories around the objects you find and how they came to be there.
Tips for beginner detectorists!
Here are 5 top tips for getting started with metal detecting:
1. Set up a test hunt
It’s a good idea to get used to your equipment if you’re a first-time detectorist. To make it a bit more fun, why not hide different metal objects around your own garden and look for them with the children. This not only enables you to practice with the metal detector, but it’s also a fun activity for the kids and you definitely know you’re going to find something!
2. Go prepared
You need to know you have everything you need when you set off on your adventure. Your basic equipment checklist includes your metal detector, headphones and spade/trowel but don’t forget important items like a bag to collect your finds, spare batteries and gloves for when you’re digging. Other useful things include a rubbish bag, as it’s a responsible thing to collect up any trash you unearth rather than leaving it on the ground, water, sun cream, and a hat plus snacks or a packed lunch if you want to make a day of it.
3. Do some research first
You can have great fund detecting anywhere, such as a park or in woods, but if you’re hoping to find something really interesting like Roman coins or Viking treasure, do a little bit of research into your local area to find out where you’re more likely to find historical items such as these.
4. Make a game of it
The actual likelihood of finding buried treasure or rare historical artefacts probably isn’t that high, especially as a beginner with an entry-level device, so create your own games to accompany your hunt. Perhaps have a guessing game about what you may have found each time you detect something and keep score or give all your finds a grading, even the tin cans and rubbish and see what score you get by the end of the hunt; aim to beat this score on your next expedition!
5. Look for clues
Without any digging, the ground can give you vital clues that will help focus your detecting. Areas of flattened or worn grass can indicate high footfall and so could provide better chances of finding lost coins. Broken pottery can indicate human activity and the potential presence of other objects.
Metal detecting etiquette
Metal detecting is a fun activity that literally anyone can do but, out of consideration for other people, there are a few guidelines to follow:
- Fill in any holes you dig
- Remove any rubbish you find and dispose of it responsibly
- Seek permission if you want to detect on private land
- Remember, any items found on private land legally belong to the landowner
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Whether you go for something very entry level such as a beginner detector or something more advanced, such as the Altai Treasure Seeker, you can have a fantastic time in the great outdoors and maybe a way of passing some time in lockdown could become a new favourite hobby!