Metal detecting’s not something I’ve ever really been interested in doing, although in the past I’ve always seen metal detector toys at Christmas and thought what good presents they’d make for our nephews and niece. But my brother’s really got into it recently, mainly because it’s an activity that gets him outdoors without absolutely exhausting him.
Because we’re on the farm, and obviously have open farmland around, he heads over our way to go out detecting. We’re close to an old airfield, and one of the villages used to be a turnpike (presumably Oxford or Banbury to Stratford) before the main road was built passing the village by. So he’s found a few interesting items, along with 2 power harrow tines, lots of coke can ringpulls, and a lot of old bullet casings.
Quite often N now says he wants to stay at home at weekends. That means really he wants to hang out on the farm with his dad and doing jobs, rather than going out with me. So I suggested that maybe we should get his uncle to come over and show us some metal detecting. It was a good excuse for me to get outside, because unless we go out and visit places, I’d not bother if it was just me on my own.
When my brother turned up and took the equipment out of the car, N was out of the house like a shot, wanting to know what he had. Cue a discussion about what the metal detector could find, and why it beeped when it went near the car, or N’s popper buttons etc. N tried to get his uncle to test the detector on the John Deere gator – it was amusing listening to the ‘argument’. N couldn’t grasp that there was no point because it was all pretty much plastic.
Boots on (including for me), we trudged out to the paddock behind our garden. No trekking up the hills behind the farm thankfully. I think we’d need to work up to that. N was running ahead, of course through the muddiest bit possible shouting that we needed to check here and there.
It was really exciting waiting for the beep of the detector and great to be able to get lots of photos and practise on manual.
I was surprised at how slowly you needed to walk to ensure you covered the ground properly. It must take hours for those who are serious about their detecting. Eventually we got a beep that wasn’t a mobile phone signal or ferrous metals.
Next we had to get the spade out and dig down in position. Of course N wanted to help out, so he got involved with the small point detector, using it to indicate where in the hole we’d dug, was the metal object.
Our first item was a little metal token. My brother reckoned it was probably an old farmer’s token, that they would pay their workers with each day before paying money at the end of the working week.
We found a few more items…an old bullet casing (not surprising given there’s an old airfield near us used in the war, and there was previously a plane that came down on the farm in that area years ago), some tangled wire, half a horseshoe, and an interesting little metal disc that must have been from a tin of food or something. It had ‘PIERCE CENTRE’ written on it, so I’ve no idea where it had come from.
Then we taught N how to put the soil and grass back so it wasn’t noticeable that we’d dug up a patch. N’s pretty light, but jumping on it a few times did the job.
N even had a go at waving the metal detector around himself. It’s almost as big as him, so took a bit of effort, but he was very proud of himself when it beeped and we found the horseshoe.
He also had a good old investigation of the worms we found. No squeamishness with him.
Even though we were only out for an hour or so, and weren’t far from the garden, it was lovely to be outside, trying something new, and also providing the opportunity to talk about the history of the farming land…what happened there before, where the metal items found could have come from and more. I think we’ll be going out again another time…my brother might even have a little shadow going out with him on longer metal detecting trips.