Metal detecting on council land

Metal detecting on land owned or tenanted by Wigan Council is not permitted except where a metal detecting survey is part of an approved archaeological investigation. Unless this is the case, the council does not have the resources to police the activity.

This protocol is effective from 1st July 2018 and supersedes any previous arrangements. It has been adopted to provide a consistent approach to the management of the Council’s assets.

Why it can be a problem

A number of problems can result from metal detecting, including:

  • Damage to tree roots, plants and wildlife
  • Creating trip hazards where land is disturbed and not correctly reinstated
  • Removal of artefacts from their original location with serious loss of information 
  • Damage to related archaeological deposits
  • Partial recovery of assemblages which often neglects non-metal finds, again with a loss of information
  • Unreported discoveries leading to an accumulated loss of knowledge.

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