Metal detecting a tidal river.

My plan was a full days metal detecting today on a local tidal river. Low tide was at midday so I could detect it going out in the morning, and detect it coming back in in the afternoon. But as usual, work got in the way by an unexpected morning job that I had to attend to.

So I eventually arrived at the river at midday as the tide was well out and about to start coming back in. Oh well, four hours detecting is better than nothing and I set up and made my way down to the waters edge. Thinking about it I wondered if I would have survived more than four hours detecting, gawd it was cold. The worst part was my hands, wet gloves in an icy wind and within an hour I was nearly crying in pain with my hands. In fact I had to stop and return to the car, start it up and have the heater on full blast to thaw out. That took another half hours detecting off me, but I just had to. There was another time I returned to my car as I spotted a huge shower coming over and just made it back to the car as it started hailing.

Anyway, when I was detecting I was enjoying it even tho it was hard work and I was suffering with my hands. Most of this river is sticky mud but the area I was detecting was mud and stones. I was directly under the River Tamer Bridges as you can see in the photo above. The bridge on the left is the old Brunnel Railway Bridge which was built in 1859 and still used today. On the right is the Tamar Bridge, a road bridge built in 1961. These two bridges join Devon to Cornwall.

The area is full, and I mean full of junk ranging from small rusty nails to scaffold tubes. certainly a test for my Velox One detector. The only way I could detect it was to have the iron disc set to its maximum of 10 with the iron switched to off and on mineral setting 3. That way I was able to keep the sensitivity between 8 and 9. I may have lost some depth there but because of all the junk I would not have been able to get past it anyway.

In between all the snaps, crackles and pops coming through my headphones now and again a lovely clear signal would come through and those were the ones I dug..... and boy did I do some digging. Most of it was large iron but here and there I would pick out a lead fishing weight or a coin.
As in the photo, I dug 31 lead fishing weights as well as some swivals and a couple of spinners. Also there is a photo of bits of lead I kept for my scrap bucket, quite a haul of lead today.

Coins were few and far between and not very exciting but at least I found some not like on my last outing. A total of 92p in decimal and 3 old pennies. Also found the snazzy button in the photo and a lead piece with NO. 8 B on it.

I suffered today for the pittance I found but now I'm thawed out I'm thinking I will leave the river detecting until the spring. Today was bad enough and the winter hasn't set in yet. But I will certainly be hitting the beaches in the winter as long as I can keep my gloves dry.


  1. Hi, we are going to detect here in a few days. Have you been back since?

    1. Hi Ande, nope. never did get to go back there. Good luck if you decide to give it a try.

  2. Hi do I need a permit to detect the Tamar river

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