Metal detecting on UK beaches is a great place to start for enthusiasts seeking hidden treasures and relics of the past using their metal detectors. However, it is crucial to obtain proper permission before embarking on any metal detecting activities. The first step when looking for permission to metal detect on UK beaches is to research and identify suitable locations. Look for beaches with a rich history or areas known for significant events, such as where historical battles took place or where shipwrecks occurred. Also, consider beaches near popular tourist destinations, as these areas tend to have a higher likelihood of yielding valuable finds. 

Man walking on a town beach carrying a metal detector
Man walking on a town beach carrying a metal detector

Contact Local Authorities and Landowners:

Once you have identified potential beach locations, reach out to the relevant local authorities if it is a council owned beach or to the landowner if it’s a private beach to inquire about metal detecting permissions. Local councils or beach management departments are responsible for granting permissions and providing information on any restrictions or guidelines. Most councils will publish a list of beaches which you can detect on without having to gain permission (See list at the bottom of this blog). If not, look for contact details on their websites or get in touch with the appropriate departments by phone or email.

Explain Your Intentions:

When contacting local authorities or landowners, it is essential to clearly and respectfully explain your intentions for detecting. Highlight your passion for history, your commitment to responsible metal detecting, and your adherence to guidelines or codes of conduct set by metal detecting associations or governing bodies. If they’ve never been contacted about it before offer to share findings and explain the benefits of beach cleaning whilst detecting. To increase the likelihood of gaining permission, consider offering to share any significant finds with the local community, historical societies, or museums. This demonstrates your commitment to preserving and showcasing the historical artefacts you discover. 

Respect Rules and Regulations:

Once permission is granted, it is crucial to familiarise yourself with and strictly adhere to any rules and regulations set by the local authorities or landowners. Longer stretches of beach may have multiple owners/ council involvement so it’s important to understand the boundaries and know where you can and can’t detect. Always respect the environment, fill any holes you dig, and dispose of any litter responsibly. Following the rules ensures that you maintain a positive relationship with the authorities and landowners and helps preserve the beach's natural beauty and integrity.

Man walking on beach with metal detector over arm
Man walking on beach with metal detector over arm

Local council links for beach detecting: 

Cornwall Council
Devon Council
Dorset Council
Brighton and Hove

East riding of Yorkshire
Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole