What is Common Land And Can I Metal Detect On It?

There’s many myths that surround the legalities of you metal detecting on Common land.

I often see discussions on forums and on Facebook groups on the subject of if you can metal detect on common land.

There’s always a hundred different Facebook experts that want to give their opinion on this and 99% of the time they are wrong.

So let’s clear it up.

What is common land?

Lets start by saying its land that is owned by someone, whether that be a local council, privately or by the national trust.

Many people for some reason believe its the people’s land or land that isn’t owned. This is simply not true.

All land is owned by someone.

That’s not to say that you haven’t got any rights on common land. Each common gives different rights to the public such as the right to roam.

This usually means the public are given permission to walk or climb on the land.

Most common land has the same rules that are very strict such as no camping without permission, holding festivals, lighting fires or bbq’s and no driving across it.

Anyway in a nutshell its land that you have some basic rights on.

Can you metal detect on Common land?

Yes. BUT, and a big BUT…Only with permission from the land owner.

However most commons strictly prohibit metal detecting, in fact my local common has a sign before the entrance gates that states “No Metal Detecting”

You’ll have to do your research to find out who owns your local common, then contact them to ask for permission to metal detect on the common land. Some councils allow metal detecting so if its council owned it may be worth sending an email to them.

So what about public paths?

Can you metal detect on public paths?

A lot of people ask if you can metal detect on public paths, and the simple answer is no. Again not without the permission of the landowner.

I’m pretty sure I once read a bylaw that stated public right of way is given except for those carrying a metal detector! Don’t quote me on that but I know I see something once.

Its a common misconception that public pathways belong to the public.

They do not. They are owned by the landowner. The landowner has simply given a right to roam permission.

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