The Accidental Detectorist: Uncovering an Underground Obsession (Paperback)

The Accidental Detectorist: Uncovering an Underground Obsession By Nigel Richardson Cover Image

The Accidental Detectorist: Uncovering an Underground Obsession (Paperback)


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One man's accidental journey into uncovering Britain's underground obsession. A fascinating and engaging tale of metal detecting history and Britain for fans of The Detectorists.

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

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 home he's been looking for.
Nigel Richardson is a British journalist and author of five previous books who has worked at the top level for more than 25 years (13 of them on the staff of the Daily Telegraph in London). He writes about history, archaeology, landscapes, culture and wildlife conservation and has won numerous awards and commendations (UK Travel Journalist of the Year, Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week, BBC Radio 4 Pick of the Week etc). Previous books include the travelogues Breakfast in Brighton: Adventures on the Edge of Britain and (with the actor Richard Wilson) Britain's Best Drives: Journeys Back to the Golden Age of Motoring.