Byelaws and permissions relating to metal detecting

Could you please supply me with information regarding all land areas owned by the council which allow metal detecting in the Devon area, whether by permit application or other.
In particular:

1: Any byelaws in place with regards to metal detecting.
2: If any such byelaws are already in place, then a copy of the order details.
3: Procedure for applying for any required licence from Devon County Council.

The legal position is that you need a landowner’s consent to metal detect on their property and anything found belongs to the landowner (unless a separate agreement has been reached). This also applies to all land owned by Devon County Council. Devon County Council would consider requests on a case by case basis, however if access is permitted the county archaeologist would require that:

  1. Important archaeological sites are avoided.
  2. The Treasure Act 1996 Code of Conduct is abided by.
  3. Finds spots are accurately recorded.
  4. The Devon Finds Liaison Officer is present (or at least liaised with or given enough notice to be present).
  5. Any finds remain the property of Devon County Council, unless otherwise agreed.

In addition, metal detecting is illegal on statutorily protected sites such as Scheduled Monuments such as Denbury Hillfort for example.

Metal detecting is also not allowed on Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) or on known archaeological sites on land that are on Agreement Land that is part of the government’s Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) or other agri-environment schemes. Stover Country Park is currently in CSS, or renewing an Agreement.

You may want to have a look at the Portable Antiquities Scheme Code of Practice.

The Grand Western Canal Country Park byelaws do not mention metal detecting and as it has never really been an issue or a common activity here. It is allowed provided people adhere to the metal detecting code of conduct.

The Northam Burrows Country Park also does not have any byelaws in place regarding the use of metal detectors. That being said, byelaw 18 does state “No person shall remove from or displace in the Park any stone, soil, sand or turf, or the whole or any part of any plant or tree”. Devon County Council would therefore say that anyone who interferes with the surface, in connection with metal detecting activities, would be breaching the byelaw.