Membership Questions

Yes by joining the NCMD you automatically receive the benefit of the combined liability insurance.

No under 16 year olds can join the NCMD for free but they must be accompanied by an adult member. Please email

No you don’t need to be a member of the NCMD but it is advisable. It is also advisable to check the Crown Estate website to make sure you are only detecting on approved beaches.

No you don’t have to be a member of a Club to join us, you can join as an individual member.

You will have access to a virtual copy of your membership card via your new online membership area and the NCMD App. All cards are ordered in bulk to reduce our costs and are delivered by Royal Mail within 25 working days. If it hasn’t arrived within this time please email:

Detecting Advice

All land is owned by someone, this includes parks, public spaces, woods, common land, and public footpaths! So your top priority before you go out detecting is to get permission. Finding a private permission can take time, you have to find out who owns the land as well as who may be occupying the land, if it is rented, as you will need permission from both parties. 
Try doing some basic online searches on sites such as land registry if you know the address/area. You may also need to get you walking boots on as it can take a lot of leg work, sometimes the only way to find land is to walk and ask around to find the owner. If you are eager to get started, try searching on social media for Metal Detecting Groups near you, they are excellent for beginners as they usually have group digs, allowing you to learn and ask questions as you go. 
Don’t forget to use our Permission Agreement Form when you find private land to dig.

This is a very difficult question as everybody who detects will have their own favourite brand/machine, so you may get very biased advice.  Do some online research, ask your local group and if possible find a stockist.

Go in and have a chat with them, view the machines first-hand, get advice on the best machines for the type of detecting you have planned, i.e. beach detecting only. At the end of the day it will be your choice on the detector you are comfortable using and the budget you have planned. 

You do not need permission to detect on Crown Estate Beaches but you still need to follow the law and Code of Conduct. Visiting the Crown Estate website will help you locate those beaches.

Do not be tempted to phone all your friends and family or post up information on social media. You need to protect the details of your site as it will take time to get expert help. People talk and the last thing you want is to worry about is the security of the land.

You should only call two people – the landowner, and the correct authority to provide advice and help. For human remains call the police on 101. If it’s a hoard or other important historical item(s) then you can contact the NCMD Major Finds Excavation Fund hotline on 0800 002 5808 or your local FLO.  All the FLO’s details can be found here. For more information visit our Hoards & Major Finds Page

If you think you have found something like this you need to stop digging immediately. Make the area safe and report it to the Police and landowner straightaway. Please watch our video for more advice

That’s a good question, this document will help give you some basic advice. How Metal Detectors Work

The Treasure Act changes from July 2023

Laws cannot be applied retrospectively and come into force no later than 4 months after being passed by Parliament. The changes to the Treasure Act were passed by Parliament on 30 March 2023 and DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) have confirmed they will become law on 30 July 2023.

So if you find something before 30 July (that doesn’t currently qualify as treasure under the existing rules) that might be significant then it can’t be claimed later. In the coming months we will provide advice on how you  can keep a record to prove your finds were found before the new classification is introduced.

It must meet ALL these criteria:
– Firstly it must be made of metal, any type of metal.
– It must be confidently dated as being at least 200 years old
– It must be significant. That means it must be something that is nationally or regionally important. National importance because it is unique or very rare or a particularly complete example where only poor quality examples have been found before AND adds to our national history. Or a regional example that provides information about our more local history.

This still needs more detail and the NCMD have been invited to be part of the team looking at this detail and the guidance will be updated as soon as possible.

We have a large fund of money ring fenced to protect our hobby. If you believe an item is claimed as significant and you don’t agree let us know. If we agree with you then our members will get financial support to cover the cost of getting expert witnesses and legal council. We hope this won’t be necessary but we will fight your corner if we are wrong.

The current Treasure system has been looked at in detail by DCMS for the first time in years. As a result they’ve set timelines on different parts of it. For the first time museums have been given a time limit to express an interest in acquiring at item, paying rewards, etc. Similarly they’ve set a time limit to collect items and provide bank details for rewards too.

We all have a part to play in the system. Where things like paying rewards are extended beyond the standard deadlines this must be justified (for example a large financial reward might require more time for fundraising) and communicated to both the land owner and the finder. This should improve both the speed of the process and the information you receive on the progress of treasure items through the system.

The other aspect of this is funding for Finds Liaison Officers (FLOs) and the Treasure process. Both were given extra funding (in addition to inflation) to bring in more

We have had some vigorous discussions about the lack of measurement and targets on the speed and quality of the process. The DCMS are funding a new PAS database that will ensure all finds, including treasure, is easier and more transparent.

However that might take up to 3 years to complete. To cover that time delay we have offered to pay for a system to centralise monitoring and measurement of the treasure process so communications can be improved for you, the finders, and the land owners.

It will also make the system speed and delays transparent to DCMS, the British Museum and everyone else concerned. We believe this is long overdue.
In addition we are also offering to fund an app to allow you to share potential treasure items with PAS staff. This would get you an answer on wether your find is not treasure or might be and needs to be brought to your local FLO. We think this will help to alleviate many of our joint concerns around the new significance definition and will help new detectorists get expert help on something they are unsure about.

The Portable Antiquities Advisory Group (PAAG) have recently published a presentation, aimed at giving you further information around the changes to the Treasure Act and the Codes of Practice. READ MORE