Crown beach SSSI misery

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Sirbleepsalot
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Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by Sirbleepsalot » Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:40 am

Moderator: there are numerous threads on this subject so I didn't know where to post so started a new one as I'm trying to get this issue dealt with once and for all, please do whatever you think best, cheers.

Hi all. There is a lot of really good advise here on beach detecting permission; I think it's safe to assume most know about the Crown Foreshore general permission to detect (following their/NCMD guidelines) on purple marked beaches on the foreshore map. Most know that non purple areas require permission from private owners, local authorities etc.

Perhaps fewer know about Crown beaches where additional third party restrictions apply such as Natural England (and their UK equivalents). Our main problem are beaches on the Crown map, assuming no local authority/3rd party ownership where SSSI's, Marine conservation Zones, historical monuments, National Parks etc. have clauses that effectively ban beach detecting/digging. Googling brings up bits and bobs from here and elsewhere so some may be out of date, right, wrong or whatever.

These are a lot harder to decipher; I have familiarised myself with the Natural England "Magic Map" which is very hard to interpret. The map starts virtually blank and you can add layers by selecting various filters to show different zones, such as SSSI's, natures reserves, protected areas and many others where restrictions MAY apply, with no guidance.When you identify an area that is covered by, for easy example SSSI's, The Natural England site has a search option to view any restrictions on activities that apply. Using an example of an area I researched recently, Silloth Dunes And Mawbray Bank (ref: OLD1003751) I printed off a page showing the restrictions or "Operations likely to damage the special interest" as they put it.

There is nothing that "bans metal detecting" so I thought I could trot off and detect at leisure. I felt it best to check though so I emailed the officer in charge of that area who's details were provided. I recieved an nice reply, to the effect one restriction did apply to detecting; "27. Recreational or other activities likely to damage flora and fauna" So it seems that if this restriction is listed it can be used to stop detecting anywhere.

I would contend that anyone following NCMD guidelines/common sense and filling in holes, removing our (and others') litter, only digging between mean high/low tidelines, taking lead weights out of the environment, not digging on obviously sensitive areas e.g. mussel beds, having NCMD insurance should show a genuine intent to be sympathetic to the area. In addition I rarely encounter worms or anything else alive when digging the High/low zone so I argue I do not damage fauna and there is no flora apart from on rocks which are tricky to dig (!).

In a Court, this would be my defence but I'm reluctant to put it to the test so no NE beaches for me. Obviously the aplication of Op. 27 is open to interpretation or inforcement but again I don't want to find out the hard way.

What I ask of you all is to advise on how to go forward. Do I as an individual throw myself on Natural Englands mercy, pointing out the above and ask for permission? I would be willing to accept any restrictions on specific areas, times, seasons or whatever.

If they do agree to even restricted detecting I'd be a happy chap but that does nothing for the rest of you. I therefore want to know what we could do as a forum or through the NCMD. I believe the NCMD is recognised by the Government and the Environment Agency is a Government body so there must be something we can do together.

Sorry for the long post but I have been fuming about this ever since I got the email!

Your thoughts please...

Regards, David.

The entire North East coast, from Tyne to border is all SSSI with the dreaded "operation 27." quoted avove.


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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by jcmaloney » Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:09 pm

SSSI`s apply for many and varied reasons, some may only preclude detecting during nesting seasons,for example.
Having said that you are only detecting between "mean high tide & mean low tide" as that is the bit covered by the CE permit system.
It doesnt cover sand dunes etc etc which are more likely to fall under SSSI`s.
Opinions expressed on MY posts are mine and NOT those of any democratic organisation I volunteer for. ::g

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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by Koala » Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:02 pm

First off. I have said many MANY times not to email as you will shoot yourself in the foot.


Second. Never dig in the dunes. EVER. Even if its not a site of scientific interest. Once you cut the grass roots it dies and the sand blows away. Good bye dunes


Third the magic maps are very vague. Often the area covered by the SSI is mud flats or dunes not foreshore but the map shows everything from the land to way out to sea.


There was one a couple of months ago. Maps show SSI on the beach the actual document referred to the mud flat's.



Its not easy to check. As often the name of the shaded area on the magic map is missing.


As a side note "likely to cause damage" isn't the same as you can't do. Although I wouldn't as well as detecting a like nature and wouldn't do anything Thats likely to harm nature.

As a second side note its quicker to search the documents first for "bait". If bait digging is banned there's a good chance that metal detecting is likely to be banned or at lest its not a good idea to dig big holes and get it banned.

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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by Sirbleepsalot » Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:55 pm

Both replies and advise very interesting. I obviously took the worst interpretation of what I'd read.

What this now gives me is the confidence to detect in peace safe in the knowledge that I can respond if questioned. I did not know about the vagueness of the maps from Natural England. By the time I had applied filters for what I thought were areas of concern the whole thing looked like a child's art session on steroids!


Any more comments welcome and I do appreciate I'm very much a noob and these questions keep cropping up so thanks for the help.

Hope my next post will be finds from the beach.

Regards, David.
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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by geoman » Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:37 pm

The OLD's appended to SSSI's are in many ways a catch all with coverage for just about anything in their interpretation. The usual vague damage term is used which can mean just about anything.

Recreational activites is a popular one so as well as detecting it can be interpreted to mean no building of sandcastles or the kids burrying dad in the sand. Common sense needs to be exercised. for example on a beach a few years ago which is a SSSI to protect waders feeding on the mudflats lower doen the shore i noted many families digging holes in the sand at the top of the beach and kids rolling over rocks lower down looking for crabs and the like whilst on the mudflats bait diggers were busy.

I returned in the evening for an hour of detecting on the dry sand and within 10 minutes i had a dog walker moaning that i was detecting on a SSSI pointing to the sign in the car park. So i returned to the car for a drink and let him wander off with the dog which i observed deposited a nice little package for the next tide....mmm i sometimes wonder what the world is coming to.

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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by Koala » Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:39 pm

Yes its a mine field

The magic map is confusing. You need to find out what each area called so you can find the relivent documents. I did zoom in and out a few times on your area but couldn't easily find what they were called. Here in the north west the name is on the map which you just type into the document search.


All you can do is your best.


By the way "the whole thing looked like a child's art session on steroids!" Made me smile

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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by Rayc » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:14 pm

Just viewed your email. I went through the same process about four years ago and reached the same conclusion as you ie the whole coastline is either NT or SSI....or both. I suppose the question is whether the restrictions apply to the area between mean high and low water. So the area where you CANNOT dig for bait at Boulmer will also be restricted for md. Mind you, the restrictions at Boulmer were put in place because the fishermen had difficulty launching their boats because of the holes.
I did some detecting between Cresswell and Lynemouth. Spent some happy hours chasing bits of silver solder around rock gullies. It turns out that the good folk of Lynemouth used to burn electric cables on that beach. There is a field which was a holiday camp post WW2, now used for grazing ponies. I was going to seek permission but have moved much further north.
If you pm me I'll give you the map ref. There is a house adjacent where you could ask.
Best of luck.
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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by Sirbleepsalot » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:21 pm

Thanks for the heads up about Lynemouth, there is a stretch I have been eying up!

Probably out tomorrow, may try Cresswell. cheers for offer re field. At present I have a Cscope Cs4PI so no land for me! ::g
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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by mikee657 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:13 pm

I had a resent conversation with a guy from natural England. After a two week battle with e-mail in regard to what you can and can't do I talked to him on the phone. To cut a long story short you are allowed to detect low to high tide marks only. This is the purple area on the maps.
Hope this helps.

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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by f8met » Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:04 pm

That has always been the case but it is easy for people to wander higher up the beach and into dunes or above the high tide line. Especially as above the high tide line is where the majority of people like to sit in the sun.
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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by bleepybloopy » Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:26 pm

I'm an ecological consultant and complete impacts assessments for developments throughout the UK. I work to establish what pathways there are for deleterious impact on citation features of SSSIs but also qualifying features of European sites i.e. Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) which you will also have seen when using MAGIC.

The impacts I look at are from direct effects like killing and injuring species, but also from disturbance effects. So if, for instance, I am working for a housing developer, I will have to provide evidence to the planning authority as to what the impacts of an increased local population would be on a site from recreation. So for SPAs designated for birds, just being in their eye-line can be enough to cause negative impacts on foraging, and would need to be quantified and potentiality mitigated for if effects are significant. You would also be amazed about how small some ecological features are for which large site are protected.

So really if it is a statutory designated site for nature conservation, I'd just not bother. Even with a cast iron letter from NE/NRW/SNH, you'll still be fending off people left right and center telling you can't be there making the whole thing unenjoyable.

There's plenty of land that isn't designated, so I'd stick to going there if I were you.
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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by lonecoiler » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:24 pm

I never ever detect in sand dunes. The most you are likely to gets is a needle in your hand! They are ideal spots for druggies.
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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by slipper » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:39 pm

My beach had similar restrictions, however Natural England advised that metal detecting was considered low risk on my SSSI, and I was wished happy metal detecting.

I think discretion is the order of the day and an SSSI may not preclude our hobby.
I treat my beach with utmost respect, fill holes, don't dig up anything growing etc.
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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by oldartefact » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:50 pm

Think that if restrictions apply the easier course of action is to look for a site without those restrictions.
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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by geomorphicmat » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:00 pm

Have a scour of the internet: I found a pdf document from Natural England that clearly stated that metal detecting on SSSI, if done sensibly is allowable (if I find it, I'll add a link).
You have already mentioned the usual stuff: Don't detect dunes, nesting areas, damaging fauna, etc. (Slipper has put this most eloquently - discretion and leave the beach as you find it).
Detecting will not be damaging the area any more than kids digging sand castles and if there is a specific issue, this should be covered by the local council stating very clearly the restrictions on the beach. Matt
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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by Oxgirl36 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:04 pm

geomorphicmat wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:00 pm
Have a scour of the internet: I found a pdf document from Natural England that clearly stated that metal detecting on SSSI, if done sensibly is allowable (if I find it, I'll add a link).
You have already mentioned the usual stuff: Don't detect dunes, nesting areas, damaging fauna, etc. (Slipper has put this most eloquently - discretion and leave the beach as you find it).
Detecting will not be damaging the area any more than kids digging sand castles and if there is a specific issue, this should be covered by the local council stating very clearly the restrictions on the beach. Matt
If you find it stick it up and we’ll look to see if we should update the stickied post on beach detecting with this info ::g
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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by geomorphicmat » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:10 pm

Response letter from Natural England: Bait digging and Metal Detecting:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ ... sthrough=1
Happy hunting! Matt
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Re: Crown beach SSSI misery

Post by Koala » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:52 pm

geomorphicmat wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:10 pm
Response letter from Natural England: Bait digging and Metal Detecting:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ ... sthrough=1
Happy hunting! Matt

I have been saying this for years.

you have to read each SSI and see what is or isn't allowed.

The only ones I have ever seen are dunes, mud flats and an eastury for geology

The information is on the Internet. It takes time and isn't that easy.

I have also writen many times that its a good idea not to email anyone. In this case the outcome was in our favour. Depending who responds you may get a negative reply and once that received it ruins it for everyone. It has happened and will happen again.



Even if allowed i don't dig in the dunes. They are easily destroyed by digging. Not that i do much beach detecting these days.

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