The following restrictions to using a metal detector are in force. Please abide by these laws as the consequences are severe.
Some archaeological sites are protected by law - These are called Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs).
These Monuments and areas are of national importance and are protected areas. It is advisable to keep well away from scheduled monuments, not only to stay within the law, but to avoid archaeological remains which may extend beyond the legally protected area. (An exclusion zone around monuments is gradually being introduced) It has been suggested that you stay at least 20 metres from any boundary.
* It is an offence to use a metal detector on a Scheduled site without the written agreement of the Secretary of State.
* It is a separate offence to remove any archaeological object from a scheduled site by the use of a metal detector. The same restrictions apply to land within zones which have been designated as Areas of Archaeological Importance. (In England these are all areas of historic towns: York, Hereford, Chester, Exeter, Canterbury.)
Always research your permitted site to familiarise yourself with boundaries and scheduled monuments - Find out where Scheduled Monuments are to avoid breaking the law. Please also bear in mind that archaeologists often react guardedly to enquiries about the location of sites, particularly in areas where there is a problem of looting. You may like to consider offering a reference.
A landowner should warn you of the existence and location of Scheduled Ancient Monuments on his/her land - but to be on the safe side, contact English Heritage.
English Heritage keep records of scheduled monuments, but you can also find out if a monument is scheduled by consulting the local Historic Environment Record or County Archaeological Service.
Historic Environment Record (HER) - Used to be called the Sites and Monuments Record (SMR)
when window opens select box called scheduled monument then click 'done' in the top right of window. Click in the circle below called 'place'
Type in the nearest place(village or town) to your field. click open map run the cross over to your field and click. This will zoom you in each time you click on the area involved. If there is a scheduled site there you will see a blue triangle. Just keep clicking on the triangle and you will see just where it is.
Which HER's are available online?
These are database lists of all known archaeological sites, buildings, structures and monuments in each county, whether they are above or below ground and which is constantly updated - it can range from prehistoric earthworks to WWII ships and aircraft. You need to check carefully to find out whether the site you wish to detect on is scheduled - not all sites on the HER's are scheduled.
There are over 4,000 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in England, covering around 7% of the country's land area. These are usually conservation areas which have been set up to protect wildlife and plant life. It is illegal to use a metal detector within these areas without permission from English Heritage or English Nature.
Some local authorities have bye-laws which prohibit metal detecting on their land. Details of bye-laws should be available from your local authority.