An often discussed figure especially by those with an axe to grind against the hobby. Those same people vastly over estimate the numbers because it suits their agenda`s.
Having been party to some “known” figures it is also often asked why the NCMD doesn`t publish how many members it has. Simple reasoning, not all members of the NCMD are detectorists.
Follow the logic. Joe Bloggs fancies taking up detecting. He has seen some stories about “Treasure” and fancies a bit of that. Joe goes to buy a machine, the retailer wants to make a sale so convinces Joe to spend all his budget on a machine and off Joe goes. Joe gets home and logs on to the internet to find out where he can go, he then gets told he needs “NCMD for the insurance” so he signs up for £10, its only a £10 thinks Joe and it will help him to go detecting somewhere.
Joe has found out you need permission from the landowner so writes to his local council to detect a nearby park. Several days later he gets a reply that detecting is not allowed on the local park. Disillusioned Joe starts contacting farmers, many have had a bad experience and Joe is getting lots of “No detecting here son”.
He has joined several Facebook groups and pages but still has nowhere to use his new machine unless he pays to dig or joins the local clubs waiting list.
Joe gets fed up with his new hobby after 4 months and goes back to fishing. Joe is still a member of lots of FB pages, he is still an NCMD member but Joe is not a detectorist.
The amount of churn in the hobby from the likes of Joe is not to be under estimated as many do. If the NCMD have 23,000 members then somewhere around 40% (9,200) have been members for more than a year and that percentage diminishes further over time. By the time you reach “members for more than 10 years ” you are probably down to 10% or 2,300. These are your regular, consistent detectorists. They are the ones recording their finds from long established permissions.
There are not that many of us.
If there are 27,000 members of a GLOBAL Facebook “page” that is not the total of UK detectorists.