The fourth in our Faces of Bedford series features Nettie, a metal detector, who has struck gold every year for the last 12 years.
Over to Nettie, in her own words…
I started detecting when I saw someone in the fields near my village doing it. I said to him what everyone says to me now – what are you doing? He was so enthusiastic, and we were chatting for ages. He let me have a go.
At the time I worked in the police control room which was quite stressful, and the long walks were a chance for me to get away and clear my head for a few hours. I went home and bought the same machine!
I knew most of the local farmers in the village so could do some exploring. That was 12 years ago. My gut instinct and ability to ‘read the land’ has developed.
I knew a bit about geology and the lie of the land. I’m also into history so researching about Romans, Vikings and what they did had also helped a lot.
For example, many people would assume Roman Villas would be up on hilltops for the views, but actually, they’d be on the side of the hill – I can definitely look at the land and it talks to me and I’ll be like – ok I’m heading over there.
I’ve been lucky and found gold every year since I started which is rare. Some have been detecting 40 years and have found none; I’m very lucky.
If you have good land, you’re in. Bedford is very Roman and has lots of history and the Vikings that came down the Ouse on their way inland.
I don’t do much map reading because everyone does that and all the key settlements have been detected already.
When I started, I was one of very few, but now there’s large groups and clubs that meet regularly running digs and it’s become more popular.
I have joined a few groups too because the banter is great! You’re all the same ilk – all there because you love doing it.
I can leave at 6am and won’t be back until 8pm at night. I get completely absorbed by it. I will be out there all weather, it doesn’t matter to me.
I actually love detecting in the snow because you can see where you’ve already been! I’ve been here my whole life and Bedford has all I need. In life – as well as detecting – seek and you shall find!
Faces of Bedford was set up during lockdown by commercial and wedding photographer, Dan Davies, to showcase the extraordinary people that make Bedford brilliant.