Guide to Magnet Fishing in the UK (60+ Locations)

Magnet fishing is a popular pastime in the United Kingdom, and it’s not hard to see why. Magnets are easily available, they’re cheap, and they’re great for fishing up all sorts of interesting objects from rivers and lakes. The UK Waterways stretch for thousands of kilometers and are some of the oldest in the world. It comes as no surprise that they are home to tons of interesting metallic objects that are waiting to be discovered by curious magnet fishers!


Treasure hunting in London’s muddy rivers? A century-old past-time!

A mud lark is a person who scavenges in river mud for things of value. Mud larks are often children or poor people who are looking for food or other items they can sell. Sometimes, mud larks find ancient artifacts that have been lost or discarded.

These finds can be very valuable to historians and archaeologists.

Mud larks have been around for centuries, and their activities have been documented as early as the 16th century. In London, England, there has been a long tradition of mudlarking on the River Thames. Mud larks there have found all sorts of objects, including coins, jewelry, tools, and even human bones.

In recent years, the activity of mud larking has become more popular, and there are now organized tours and events that allow people to go mudlarking in a safe and controlled environment. In many ways, the joy of mudlarking overlaps with the thrill of magnet fishing.

Is magnet fishing legal in the UK?

We have discussed the complicated legal situation of magnet fishing in the UK in this article. We urge you to always ask for permission, whether you’re on public or private property. Some districts explicitly prohibited magnet fishing after some magnets attached to unexploded WW2 bombs. These bombs are generally stable underwater, and bringing them up to the surface can be a serious risk.

What are the best places to magnet fish in the UK?

The following lists are a collection of some good magnet fishing spots and locations near various metropolitan areas in the UK. They simply serve to give you an idea of spots you can try immediately after buying your magnet fishing kit.

Spots near London

London is a great city for magnet fishing because of the numerous waterways, bridges and canals. The Thames is the most obvious choice for magnet fishing in London, but there are also many other smaller rivers and canals that offer good spots for magnet fishing.

  • Thames: There is a surprising amount of bullets at the bottom of the Thames. Most likely, people who have them at home don’t want them anymore and are afraid of getting caught with them. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find an accessible spot to cast your magnet along the Thames, as there are literally no piers and the bridges are usually too high up.
  • Regent’s Canal: Someone pulled out big artillery shells and had to call the cops
  • The embankments of Bedford: Someone found a hand grenade there, and a few weeks later, a WW2 bomb was found close by.
  • The river that rounds through Kidlington in Oxfordshire
  • Behind swan foundry in the Banbury Canal
  • Tower Bridge
  • Hammersmith Bridge
  • Kingston Bridge
  • Thames Barrier Park
  • Battersea Park
  • The Serpentine in Hyde Park

Spots in the Greater Manchester Area

Manchester is a city in the North West of England with a rich industrial heritage. The city has a network of canals and rivers, which make it an ideal place for magnet fishing. There are also a number of bridges and viaducts, which provide good access to the waterways. 

  • River Don in Rotherham, South Yorkshire: Members of a magnet fishing club hooked a dead body there.
  • Salford quays
  • Stretford 
  • Eccles
  • Chesterfield canal
  • Trent
  • Manchester Ship Canal
  • River Mersey
  • Bridgewater Canal
  • Ashton Canal
  • Peak Forest Canal
  • Macclesfield Canal
  • Trent and Mersey Canal
  • Rochdale Canal
  • Oldham Branch of the Ashton Canal
  • Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Spots near Birmingham

  • Cahaba River: This river is full of history, and you can find all sorts of interesting things if you explore it with a magnet. Start at Trussville and work your way down to Vestavia Hills – you’re sure to find something cool!
  • Blaydon Road canal in Wolverhampton
  • Canals around the Napton area
  • Any of the smaller canals in Birmingham
  • Bartley Reservoir
  • Sutton Park
  • Cannon Hill Park
  • Kings Heath Park
  • Lickey Hills Country Park
  • The River Tame
  • The River Rea
  • Leamington Spa Canal

Spots near Leeds-Bradford

There are over 200 canals and bridges in Leeds-Bradford, making it one of the most canal-rich areas in the UK. Leeds-Bradford is a great place to explore if you’re interested in canals and bridges, and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in mud larking and magnet fishing if you’re up for some treasure hunting!

  • Leeds-Bradford Canal
  • Granary Wharf
  • Armley Mills
  • River Aire
  • Leeds Dock

Spots near Glasgow

  • River Clyde: The Clyde is Glasgow’s most famous river, and it’s also one of the busiest waterways in the UK. In fact, over 100 canals and bridges cross the Clyde, making it a vital part of the city’s infrastructure. A local found an unexploded grenade and artillery that was fired by a Spitfire. Suffice to say, the police were called!
  • The Forth and Clyde Canal
  • Cathkin Braes Country Park,
  • Mugdock Country Park
  • Kelvin River
  • Leven River
  • Cart River
  • Balloch Castle Country Park
  • Carbeth Loch

Spots near Liverpool

There are over two hundred canals and bridges in Liverpool, making it a very popular destination for tourists and locals alike. You never know what you might find at the bottom of one of Liverpool’s many canals or rivers. Who knows, you might just find a hidden treasure!

  • The River Mersey
  • The Manchester Ship Canal
  • The Leeds and Liverpool Canal
  • The River Dee
  • Wirral Waters
  • Sefton Coast
  • Formby Point

What can you find Magnet Fishing in the UK?

UK’s waterways have an incredibly long history. In Scotland, you will have difficulties, as a lot of rocks, there are ferromagnetic. Typical finds in UK canals include knives, wrenches, forks, bullets, knives, pipes, spoons, bracelets, toolboxes, and rims. Magnet fishing in the UK can be exceptionally thrilling as there are a lot of WWII artifacts that have been lost during the war. These may include peculiar metallic items, such as helmets, bullets, bombs, grenades, rifles, uniforms, ID tags, gas masks, or magazines.

These blokes found a disturbing amount of weapons!

Additional Resources to find great spots in the UK:

  • This interactive map shows how the UK waterway network shrank and grew over time. You can change the time slider starting from the 1700s. This is a great map to find spots that may harbor a piece of history!
  • This website provides a map of all known boat launches in the UK. Boat launches and boat ramps are the favorite spots for many magnet fishers, as people lose all types of everyday items when entering and exiting boats!

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