Our first mission

Our first metal detecting mission: 

I set out on a stroll accompanied by my friend Jonny (also new to metal detecting), E-TRAC and spade in hand. We got about 20 metres before we were stopped…”Excuse me, what are you doing”…we were asked…”metal detecting” we replied politely. We were met with a startled look. The penny dropped (no pun intended), we were on a British Heritage Site; Bradwell Abbey, Buckinghamshire. We had a small suspicion that they may not like it, we had no idea it was illegal and we could be fined!

Lesson 1; get permission. Ask land owners if you can detect and dig on their land; don’t just assume and if they say no, move on.

The gentleman who stopped us was really very nice, he explained to us that metal detecting on a Heritage site is illegal and we could be fined and arrested. He wasn’t being funny, he explained to us that the law was trying to ensure we look after our heritage and history and not slowly erode it. Apparently permission can be applied for via the Government and various bodies, and there would need to be an archaeologist there from what i could gather;  we decided to stop and do our research…

I think we were so excited by the idea of hunting for treasure, so to speak, we didn’t appreciate or even acknowledge the historical aspect of what we were embarking on. Lesson 2: this is not like an easter egg hunt in your back garden; be respectful.

The problem here was we were on a Heritage site. Private land is different, as is public land. You must however always ask permission of the landowner and a good metal detectorist will always declare and record their find so I’ve been told. Some landowners may let you keep what you have found, but if you have not asked the landowner, not only are you trespassing, what you find belongs to them and you are also reflecting badly on the hobby of metal detecting.

I’m off to do some more research, read some magazines; I’m told The Searcher and Treasure Hunting are good and learn to walk before I can run. I’m Excited…till next time…happy hunting!

Discovering metal detecting…a novice’s view

Discovering metal-detecting…. By Gabby

…When someone says to me ‘metal detecting’ I immediately think of a treasure hunt, anoraks  and eccentrics. Then I hear a member of one of the biggest rock and roll bands in the world is a    metal detecting enthusiast and thinks it is “probably the best and most enjoyable way of learning about History.”

If it’s good enough for Rolling Stones bassist, Bill Wyman then maybe I am totally mislead and uninformed…let’s find out…

My New Toy: Minelab E-TRAC

Courtesy of Joan Allen Metal Detectors, I have myself a neatly packed box with a Minelab E-TRAC (which I am told is Minelab’s most technologically advanced detector, setting the industry benchmark) waiting to be unpacked. I am actually a bit nervous as it all looks a bit complicated…

…In the box there was a whole array of parts; coils, shafts, control boxes, headphones…an instruction manual (phew)! So I got to work in assembling this beast and it was surprisingly easy. I found myself more excited at every part that connected and you can’t help but notice the real quality and strength of the product; impressive. I was relieved the instruction manual was actually an instruction manual and not a maze like those flat pack furniture ones; it was clear and concise with diagrams illustrating each step. I was beginning to think this metal detecting lark could be good fun…

The instruction manual had all sorts of great information in it. Despite having this rather skeptic view about metal detecting, i realised i didn’t actually know much about it at all, how it worked, the technology; so i decided to do a bit of reading…

How Metal Detectors Work: 

I read that metal detectors create an electromagnetic field around the coil (the round flat bit that hovers over the surface) which penetrates the ground. Metal is conductive so it causes a change in the electromagnetic field, the detector then senses a change and sends a signal to the control box to alert whoever is operating it.

Metal detectors can determine the size, shape and composition of the metallic objects beneath the coil and the larger the object the easier it is to detect; pretty cool when you think about it.

I guess all is left to do now is to give it a go…

Joan Allen detectors, A Dummy’s guide to the metal detector (by a dummy)


Joan Allen have given us a couple of Metal detectors to test. We’re expecting the unexpected, mud, history and maybe a little bit of an exciting adventure!

Discovering metal-detecting… (Jonny)

I begin this blog with a frank admission. I know absolutely nothing about metal detecting. The extent of my knowledge goes as far as, people walk around in fields and hunt for treasure. So what am I doing writing a blog for Joan Allen, a leading name in the UK metal detecting world?

It’s simple really, they have given me a Minelab X-terra 705 and over the coming weeks I will be recording my experiences right from the start as a novice to the hobby until, hopefully, I’m hooked. There will be live twitter (we will mark our blog tweets with “News update”) and Flickr updates, recording our progress out in the field as well as reports on our success’s and, inevitably, our failures! We will also aim to inform the world on how to best go about getting permission to detect on privately owned land and what to do if you find something special…

Opening the X-Terra 705 

So having received my shiny new box complete with Joan allen finds pouch and rechargeable batteries, I found myself brimming with excitement. The thought of wondering across one of the UK’s premier medieval heritage sites (Bradwell abbey, Milton Keynes) with a metal detector is actually a very appealing one even in this bitterly cold weather. Opening the X-terra you are confronted by several different parts. No doubt a familiar sight for veterans of the hobby but for me a little daunting, it needn’t have been. The manual explained things brilliantly and in under 10 minutes, grinning constantly, I had a fully assembled Minelab Metal detector.

Picking it up it was lighter and more mobile than I thought it would be, lending itself to a potentially long day of detecting. The manual gives the advice to test the different settings on the X-Terra with familiar pieces of metal like coins, foil or tin cans.

Let the adventure begin!