When Is The Best Time To Go Metal Detecting?


leaves hang on rope

Depending on where you live, metal detecting can be an all year round activity. There are times though when it is easier to dig the ground (not easy to do when it is iced up).

Springtime seems to be the best time to go metal detecting. The ground is starting to defrost and finds that were dropped during the winter months will start to appear. Also, some metal detectors do not work well when detecting on snow or ice.

When Are The Seasons?

In the Northern hemisphere:

  • Spring runs from March 1 to May 31
  • Summer runs from June 1 to August 31
  • Fall (autumn) runs from September 1 to November 30
  • Winter runs from December 1 to February 28 (February 29 in a leap year).

In the Southern hemisphere:

  • Spring starts September 1 and ends November 30
  • Summer starts December 1 and ends February 28 (February 29 in a Leap Year);
  • Fall (autumn) starts March 1 and ends May 31
  • Winter starts June 1 and ends August 31

Metal Detecting In Springtime

Springtime can bring a bounty of finds. People out spending time in the snow can easily drop coins or other items. Melting ice can remove layers of soil and stone revealing new search zones to detect, so its worthwhile re-visiting sites you may have detected the previous year.

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, the springtime also brings all the benefits of fresh air and the opportunity to be outdoors when life is re-appearing all around you.

Springtime is the mating season in many parts of the Earth, so care must be taken not to disturb wild animals. (I had a run in with a very proud and defensive stag dear once – and I still have the scars to prove it.)

Metal Detecting In Summertime

Summer is when most metal detectorists are active. Sweeping beaches and tourist areas after the crowds have left can bring great rewards. I prefer to detect when these areas are quite as I seem to get asked lots of questions from kids and soon develop a small crowd of observers as I try to make my way out of the area (still sweeping of course.)

Sweeping beaches just before sunset can be a great experience. Visitors will be leaving the area and you will pretty much have the beach to yourself.

Metal Detecting In The Fall / Autumn

A wonderful time of the year full of change and abundance. The crowds have mostly gone indoors leaving behind great stretches of beach, parkland and waterways to be explored and detected. You should get good finds at this time of the year. The ground can be a little firmer, but the right choice of digging equipment will solve this.

As it gets darker earlier, go out very early and make the most of the sunlight if you can.

Metal Detecting In The Winter

Like any other winter pursuit, the weather can bring its own challenges when you are metal detecting at this colder time of the year. Coastal areas tend not to be hit as hard as inland areas with frost so I would recommend planning to visit them first.

You may find that many beaches are still accessible during the winter months, but it may be harder to find items due to the lack of visitors. There are still things to be found though, and it is much quiet, which can make for a better search if you prefer an empty beach.

Tip: Winter is also a good time to look back through all your finds and plan for the year ahead. Use the colder months to book accommodation in areas you intend to visit. Because you are booking ahead, you should get better prices.

Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail

Where you live can have a huge impact on your metal detecting plans. I live in Scotland. Our summers and autumns (falls) can be fantastic with soft easy to dig soil. Our winters and springtimes however can be severe. Scotland has been known to experience all seasons in one day – so even on the hottest days, always pack a waterproof jacket and take plastic bags to cover my metal detector just incase.

If you are visiting an area new to you, always let a few people know where you are going and when you plan to be back. Metal detecting is a serious hobby, not a dangerous sport.

Bring The Right Gear

When you are far from home, finding out you have forgotten an essential bit of your gear can really dampen your spirits. Read our post about starting out in metal detecting where we give you a list of some of the basic items you should take with you on any metal detecting excursion.

The Countryside Code

  • Be safe, plan ahead and follow any signs.
  • Take detailed maps/guidebooks.
  • Leave gates and property as you find them.
  • Protect plants and animals and take your litter home.
  • Keep dogs on a lead or under close control.
  • Consider other people.

Have fun! Dave

The Team @ Metal Diggers

All the team at Metal Diggers have been metal detecting since childhood. They are committed to their hobby and enjoy sharing their knowledge with other enthusiasts. Each has their own detecting style and preference for equipment. We hope you enjoy metal detecting as much as they do.

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