Lets Go Digging was the brainchild of Paul Howard, a detectorist who was becoming aware of the difficulties facing himself and his fellow ‘diggers’ when it came to getting permission to detect on farmland. With the rise in crime and other negative factors, farmers were becoming more and more reluctant to allow strangers on their property. Paul realised that the only way to convince landowners to allow detecting was to commercialise it, to recompense the farmers for allowing groups of people onto his fields.
In no time at all, Paul’s venture began to gather pace with hundreds of people joining his Facebook page interested in being part of organised group digs. With the farmers seeing it as a revenue stream for their business, permissions began to increase and recommendations and referrals soon enabled Paul to organise frequent events around his home area in the West Midlands.
Lets go Digging’s popularity has now stretched to almost 2000 members and land permissions being offered nationwide. Recently he launched Lets Go Digging (Wales) which is already attracting substantial interest.
Realising the level of administration required to expand the detecting areas, Paul asked long term detectorist Chris Bailey to cover the Welsh digs and on January 10th, the first LGDW event went ahead in Brecon. Even with wind, rain, snow and sub zero temperatures, there was an excellent turnout and a great range of coins and artifacts recovered, making the day a success for all.
With over 100 coins unearthed, including a few exceptional hammered silver pennies along with a few Romans and various artifacts, the Brecon Rally was a positive start to the Welsh venture and already Paul has been approached by farmers offering permissions.
In addition to the what are now almost weekly events, there will be camping weekends also organised where hardened detectorist’s get the opportunity to detect from dawn to dusk and then enjoy a few drinks with their fellow diggers to show their finds and make new friends. The first one for 2016 will be in Talley, South Wales.
Lets Go Digging is already taking on new land this year and Paul intends to take this venture further South and further North as further interest in the hobby is becoming increasingly apparent.
Paul believes that with group digs, the administration and organisation will result in far better records being maintained of what finds are discovered and where. That landowners will be far more receptive to a respected organisation and that the hobby can be promoted to encourage more people to join in digging the history from beneath their feet.