Metal Detectors

Can you please let me know who to contact and how a member of the NCMD with professional indemnity would go about obtaining permissions to metal detect on council owned land or on land prior to development. 

Any requests to metal detect on Devon County Council-owned land (including the County Farms Estate) should be directed to  in the first instance, or addressed to the Estates Team, Room 170, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 4QD.  They can then check with the relevant colleagues if permission is to be granted or refused.

Applicants need to be aware of the following:

  •  Metal detecting is illegal on (a) statutorily protected sites such as scheduled monuments, (b) Sites of Special Scientific Interest (c) known archaeological sites, (d) land that is part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) or (e) part of agri-environmental schemes.
  • The landowner’s prior consent (in this case Devon County Council) must always be obtained first, and anything found belongs to the landowner unless a different agreement has been reached between detectorist and the landowner.
  • Metal detecting on the County Farms Estate is allowed in certain circumstances but is strictly controlled.  Prior permission from the farm tenants must be sought and they have the right to decline permission.  If permission is agreed then Devon County Council’s permission for access must be sought so that activities can be properly monitored and recorded by the Devon Finds Liaison Officer who must be present for any finds.
  • A good source of general guidance is the Portable Antiquities Scheme Code of Practice.