Most professional and accommodating! I have been on one tour with Steve (so far) and can only say he does a great job of the whole affair! Transportation, lodging, meals, identification of your finds and prompt export and most important good sites to detect on. I’ve tried others and they don’t compare. I am already booked for the next adventure! Thanks Hayley & Steve.
Steve Harbin, Greensboro, NC, USA
Over the years, I have been on metal detecting tours in England with three different operators. I can honestly say that neither of the other two compare with the operation of Steve’s & Hayley’s Norfolk Metal Detecting Tours. Hayley & Steve not only puts us on fields that produce fantastic finds, Steve is extremely well organised and really takes care of those on his tour. None can exceed Steve in his knowledge of the history and identification of the coinage of old Britain. Steve and Hayley are very personable and they work very hard to make sure that the trip is an enjoyable one. Steve takes personally the success of all. I have already confirmed my next trip with Steve, and though I have just returned from my second trip with him, cannot wait to go again.
Bill Rome, Louisiana, USA
Hi Hayley & Steve, Made it home safely! I have been to England detecting 5 times now and this was by far my most enjoyable trip and not because I dug a Roman gold ring and a Richard the 3rd silver hammered groat, Although that was wonderful! Steve you run a first class operation, You are very knowledgeable on the finds coming in out of the fields, You provide great hunting areas, You line up first class accommodations, And take complete care of your customers. I really enjoyed the group you put together they are all people I now consider my friends and hope to hunt with in the future. Then on Thursdays your beautiful lady Hayley comes out and brightens up the day! Thank you so much for everything you did for us, As I said you run a first class operation for a very reasonable price.
Robbie Rome, Louisiana, USA.
This trip was great! Two things stand out in my mind. First, every hammered silver coin I found was of a different King or Queen. In prior trips (with different tours) all my hammered silver coins were the same. The quality of the fields during Steve’s trip really make a difference. You can tell Steve has put a lot of time into finding fields with a lot of history. Second, aside from the great coins, the artifacts found were unbelievable. Again, this is attributed to Steve’s ability to find great fields that have not been overly hunted by large groups in the past.
I will definitely make it a point to return for another trip with Steve!
I just returned from a detecting tour in the Norwich area of England. I’ve been on 19 tours with every detecting tour operator presently offering tours. There were so many things about this tour that were superior to the others it is hard to know where to begin. The facilities were clean and nice, and the food was good, but the most important feature was location. We were always within 20 minutes of the fields. That meant we could start out at 8:30, stop at the grocery for lunch items, and be in the field detecting by 9am. If you don’t think that is important just wait until your first tour when you get started at 11am, 2 hours later, and it most certainly happens on other tours. We were never rushed to get off the fields. Many days when finds were going well we lingered until after 6pm.
The tour operator, Steve Elden, was terrific. The van was always at the entrance to the field in case of rain, emergency, or just plain convenience. These little items add up, and I want to be as comfortable as possible when I go on vacation. We all know that comfort takes a back seat to the quality of the fields and the finds that turn up so let me describe the finds. Utterly fantastic. The best I’ve ever encountered. The coins, greenies, and bits were as numerous as any other tour, but the artifacts were shocking, indicating the fields were not detected to death. How about a Celtic bracelet, a Celtic woad grinder, Roman brooches, or a Roman votive statue! There were two gold coins found, a Celtic stater and a Henry 5th half noble. It just doesn’t get any better than this tour. One last point to ponder. The length of the tour and the price. No point in describing how good it is as you should compare your cost per day with other tours and see for yourself.
I will be back………………………….
Joe W. Brown
We did a 2-week tour with Steve September 2011. 8 of us stayed at an Inn with dining facilities. I shared a very large comfortable room with excellent bathroom and the price was quite reasonable. Meals at the Carvery were good. It was a 20 to 30 minute drive to the fields each day. Steve rented a large vehicle which was equipped with seat belts, had plenty of room and was perfect for our needs. He arrived promptly before 8:30 every morning, we went to a supermarket and bought our lunches, etc. Then on to the fields; there, Steve set up a table and plastic chairs. He served coffee and tea and other good things during the day and was present at all times to provide help, cheer and admire our finds. He is quite expert with identification. We usually wandered in about 12-1 for lunch and then out again till 5:30. Back to the Inn for dinner etc. We all went out 2-3 times to an excellent Chinese restaurant.
In my opinion this was an excellent tour. We were also blessed by beautiful weather. Fields were variable with respect to finds ranging from fair to excellent. Even in the fair fields there were some good finds. Most (but not all) of the fields were ploughed and rolled. For the most part we spent the whole day in one field – and it seemed the more time we spent, the more good things came out. Toward the end of the trip, we did larger and multiple fields and had more flexibility. One measure of detecting is hammered silver coins and the 8 of us found about 98 – average more than 10 per person. There were also many very good finds such as a beautiful full groat, many sixpences, huge decorated Roman brooches, Roman figure, Saxon broiches, heraldic pendants and “killer” finds such as a gold half-noble, gold Celtic wolf stater, Celtic silver unit, Celtic 2 woad grinders, Charles I hammered silver half–crown, 2 beautiful seal matrix’s a Roman snake – arm or wrist wrap and an incredible Viking trefoil brooch made into a pendant.
Overall, I would say this is one of the best detecting trips I have been on. The people, the fields, the finds – doesn’t come much better than this! I definitely want to return. Thanks Steve.
Bud Bing, Boston, USA
I recently had the chance to be part of Steve Elden’s first metal detecting tour in Norfolk. This was my sixth trip detecting in England and I was uncertain about trying something new and untested – the fields might be bad, the tour poorly run, etc. I shouldn’t have worried – the entire trip was a huge success.
First, we found stuff – lots of stuff. Hammered, milled, Roman, Saxon, Celtic – you name it, we found it, both coins and artifacts. Not a day went by that someone didn’t come up with a great find. The group found more significant coins and relics than on my five previous trips combined. Every day at the end of the day we said that it couldn’t get any better, but it always did.
Second, you won’t meet a nicer guy than Steve. He genuinely wants everyone to have a good trip and goes out of his way to get the best fields in the best condition possible. His knowledge as a dealer makes him an invaluable resource when it comes to identifying finds. We met a number of his friends and family members during the trip and they quickly became our friends as well. As a special bonus, when you hunt with Steve you will have the chance to dine at “the best Chinese restaurant in the world.” No kidding; it was fabulous, just like the rest of the trip.
I’ve already recommended this tour to my detecting friends and am going back myself every chance I get. Best tour ever!
Smithfield, NC, USA
In September, 2011, I was part of a group of 8 friends who joined Steve in England for his first metal detecting tour. It was 15 days, and the farms we detected were mostly flat and easy to hunt, yielding a variety of ancient coins and artifacts. It was a relaxing, and rewarding hunt, and some of the finds were stunning. I personally found items spanning 4000 years, from the Bronze age to present, including 18 hammered silver coins. Steve is very knowledgeable in the field of coins and artifacts, especially the older items, and he even made coffee and tea for us while in the field. Steve’s tour will remain on my list for future trips to England.
NcKinleyville CA, USA
I very much enjoyed your detecting trip Steve. In fact, Probably the best one I have been on. Although the personal touches were great (ice, homemade crumble, and jam cake) the best part were the fields you took us to – first class! Sign me up again.
I have been on many detecting tours in England for the last 12 years.
It was a pleasure to join your Tour to find so many new fields.
The Artefacts and finds more than compare than any other Tour I have been on.
I would recommend your Tour to anyone.
I’ve detected in England once or twice/year for over ten years, both with organized groups and on my own. What I loved about Steve’s tour was the intensive opportunity to detect all day, every day; on great fields in one of the top areas of England for historical finds. There were a tremendous variety of finds from virtually every period from Bronze Age to Victorian; we all found a number of both silver hammered coins as well as some beautiful roman coins. The artifacts were outstanding as well, and it was clear that all finds were ‘natural’ finds, not planted.
The accommodations were excellent, in a great hotel with great food and a nice pub, great free wifi, too. Steve picked us up at the airport terminal, and drove us to a different field each day. He made sure we had everything we needed on the field (and more), and his personal experience and knowledge of coins and artifacts is impressive. It’s a logistical nightmare to take a trip on your own in England and comply with the Treasure Act, but Steve takes care of all recording of finds with the county Finds Liaison Officer, and assures a proper export license and return of your finds.
If you want a seriously good detecting trip with the maximum time on the field and maximum potential for finds, I’d definitely recommend this tour…
I have been detecting for over 30 years, and had taken 20 trips to England before I heard about Steve Elden and his new organization. I went to the website and saw comments from detectorists with whom I had hunted in the past, and whose opinions I respected. They were all extremely complimentary about Steve’s first trip, in the autumn of 2011. The finds made by the group were astonishing, as you can see if you visit the website. So I signed up for the spring trip this year, and have just returned. THIS WAS THE BEST DETECTING TRIP TO ENGLAND I HAVE EVER HAD!! I feel so strongly about it that I have tried to learn how to do a newsletter, to share my experiences with you, and hopefully inspire you to sign up.
Note: I do not work with Steve, or for Steve, and am not being paid or otherwise compensated to do this newsletter. In fact, as of this writing, Steve doesn’t even know I’m DOING this newsletter.
Most, if not all companies that run metal detecting tours in England operate pretty similarly. The tour operator contacts English farmers, and secures permission for the group to detect on his land. For this, the farmer is compensated, and that fee is part of the cost of the tour. Fields may be rolled (flat), rough-plowed, in stubble, e.g., 4-6” cornstalks, or pasture (weeds and grass).
Accommodation is provided, with or without meals. Transportation to and from London airport(s) is included, as well as travel to and from the fields. Detectorists must comply with the Treasure Act of 1997, which defines which items (coins and artifacts) are treaure. A summary of the Treasure Act can be found atwww.finds.org.uk/treasure/advice/summary.
(In my experience, it is rare for a find to be wanted by one of the UK museums.) But items that are treasure go through a process of evaluation, which may lead to an appraisal and purchase by the Government.
How to Choose a Company with whom to go detecting in England
There are currently 4 companies running detecting trips to England. Just as some people prefer Fords and some prefer Chevys, some detectorists prefer one company, and would never try another. Other people try different companies and may detect with several. Cost is a major factor. Some of the others are compatibility with the tour operator, the quality of accommodations, the food, the distance the fields are from the accommodations, the type of field (plowed, stubble, etc.), and of course the finds made (and NOT made).
This is, and should be, a major consideration. Steve’s 2-week trips cost $2623 (as of today’s exchange rate), for a single room. Costs can be reduced if 2 or 3 people share a room or one of the apartments at the Breckland Lodge, where detectorists are lodged. The Breckland is a modern facility, something we might call an “inn,” with in room showers and a hot water pot, with included coffee and tea, to heat your own drinks. Transportation is included, but meals are not. The Breckland provides all meals, either at a one-stop ‘carvery’ (like a buffet, but limited to one trip), or pub food from a menu. Breakfast is also available. Lunch is ‘purchase your own’ at the local grocery store. Costs can be reduced by bringing your own goodies. Dinner at the carvery runs about $10 with beverage.
Those who prefer not to eat at the Breckland might prefer the nearby White Lodge, a friendly pub that serves good food and drink. The proprietor and the locals will engage you in conversation, if previous experience holds true. With a genuine thatched roof and hundreds of years of history, the White Lodge is a genuine traditional pub.
Steve provides all export license service, including interface with the local FLO (finds liaison officer), who is an integral part of the export license process.
Cost: Part 2
As a retired “number cruncher” with the Government, I know the value of making accurate comparisons. So if you are thinking about going with Steve (as I hope you do), consider a few important factors.
The fields are closer to the lodgings. This means more detecting time!
Steve leaves at 8:30AM, whereas other groups leave at 9. More detecting time!
Steve leaves the field at 5:30 (or later), whereas other groups leave at 5, and on some days as early as 3PM. More detecting time! Steve’s tour has 12 full days of detecting, whereas other groups may have 8 or 9 shorter days. More detecting time with Steve!
Speaking of Steve, I’m going to embarrass him (when he reads this), by talking about him. Steve is the best! He does everything he can to help people have a great trip. From dashing around from the driver’s seat to open the rear door of the van, to having the cooler ready at the grocery store for people to put their lunch in, to knowing whose detector is whose (!), and putting everyone’s detectors and gear in the van, and handing it out to them,
Steve is head and shoulders above his competitors! He’s always around to provide encouragement, identify finds, and make sure you aren’t throwing anything good in the ‘rubbish.’ He provided tea and coffee for us in the field, which was especially welcome since the weather was often cool or downright cold. Steve even negotiated with taxi companies for the best price for 4 group members who were going from Steve’s trip to another detecting trip!
Now we get to the bottom line. What are you going to find on a tour with Steve? The short answer is: no guarantees. You may walk ‘around’ all the good stuff, and never dig anything good. But the previous group in 2011 did extremely well, as Steve’s website shows pictorially, and our recently-returned group also did well. We found coins and artifacts from Bronze Age, Celtic, Roman, Saxon, Viking, Medieval, and post-Medieval periods!! The fields Steve put us on had obviously not been heavily detected in the past, for larger coins, like groats, half groats, and six pence coins, came up quite a few times. Other large desirable items included crotal bells , (worn around animals’ necks), Saxon brooches, Medieval lead ampullae (originally filled with holy water and purchased by pilgrims), Med seal matrices, and Roman brooches. The abundance of modern coins (called ‘greenies’ for their patina) also indicated the fields had not been detected a lot. Our group even found 3 gold items, a milled (modern) gold coin that was, sadly, almost totally blank, and 2 gold rings! One was from the 17th century, one from the 20th century.
And, to be fair, I should also tell you we found large amounts of scrap lead, buttons, shotgun shells, and ‘bits’ of unrecognizable junk!
If anyone has questions about the trip, or about what to take (detector, gear, clothing, money, etc.), I would be glad to respond via e-mail. Steve can forward your inquiry to me.
I hope to see you one day on a field in England, with Steve, his partner Hayley, and other American detectorists, uncovering the history of England—one piece at a time.
Gary K. Virginia, USA