The Accidental Detectorist

Nigel Richardson


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28 September 2023
ISBN: 9781788403726
304 pages

From the publisher

'Richardson writes beautifully about his return to the land, about listening to the soil and about understanding the ancient world.' - The Spectator

Each new field is hope, each old one reality. There are things below the surface that pull people together in a shared love of history, landscape and the hope that, this time, something incredible will be unearthed. When a travel writer is stuck on home soil in the middle of a pandemic he tries his hand at metal detecting - and is instantly addicted. This all-consuming hobby takes him around the country, back through history and deep into the psyches (his own included) of those hooked on 'happy bleeps'. The Accidental Detectorist is a big-hearted dig into a pastime sometimes mocked but always enticing.


When locked-down travel writer Nigel Richardson is looking for a travel story close to his country cottage he turns to a leading metal detectorist with an infectious passion for the hobby. Before he knows it the mysteries of the fields are leading him on, into a world that casts the history of these isles and its people in an intriguing new light. Sifting Britain's soil from Portsmouth to Edinburgh, Nigel yearns to lose his detectorist's virginity by finding a 'hammered' coin - while learning that the search for treasure comes with a serious responsibility to our common heritage. As he immerses himself further in the world of metal detecting, exposing the shady activities of 'nighthawks', attending rallies and making lifelong friends, a change comes over him. This country beneath his feet, these people who scour it for clues and tokens - they are the treasure he's been looking for.