Monday 6th November 2017

Pebble art is making its way across Greater Manchester as families find a new reason to take kids to the park.

The craze involves people decorating pebbles and hiding them for others to find. Children either take them home and replace them with their own creations, or hide them again so more people can enjoy the hunt. Facebook groups have been set up across the country for people to share their ideas and places to look, and a number have sprung up in Greater Manchester.

These include Pebbleart Rocks Bolton/Bury , which now has almost 400 members following a boost over half term, and Stockport Rocks , which has a whopping 3,000 and lists the ‘rules of their game’ as:

  • Collect (or buy) some rocks
  • Decorate your rocks (on the back, write something along the lines of “If found, please post on “Stockport Rocks” on Facebook”). Rocks can be decorated using paint, chalk, sharpie pens, glitter etc. Please make sure your designs are child friendly.
  • Hide your rocks in safe, public places
  • Search for hidden rocks and when you find one (or a few), post a photo on this group then re-hide it for somebody else to find

The group’s Donna Rowlinson said:

“The parks are very popular hiding places – Woodbank Park, Torkington Park, Cale Green, Alexander Park, Bramhall and around White Hill Primary School have been mentioned in posts recently.”

Mum Jill Farnworth, who lives in Bury, helped set up the Bolton/Bury group and has been busy decorating pebbles with her son Taylor, six, and stepdaughter Jasmine, 10.

She said:

“Initially it started in Morecambe, Lancaster and is slowing making it’s way to other towns.

“I asked if anyone would be interested if I set up a Bury/Bolton group and the response was really positive.

“It’s brilliant fun and some of the art is amazing. My friend lives I Australia and they do it there too.

“The idea is just to spread a little happiness and make people smile. It’s great fun and gets the kids out.”

And Jill explained that it’s not just parks where the rocks are being hidden. And some even feature inspiring messages such as ‘don’t give up’, ‘the storm will pass’ and ‘dream big’.

She added:

“People have left them on walls, fences, anywhere that gets people out searching but won’t cause any damage to anyone’s property.

“We found a few in Tandle Hill Park. Someone will put a picture on the Facebook group with their stones and an ish location or a clue to the location.

“The kids are loving it. We do a lot of geocaching too so it’s all very similar.

“We had a pebble art and pizza party at the weekend and have masses that are just waiting for the next coat of varnish.

“We are away in London this weekend and are planning on hiding a few whilst we’re there.”

Jill’s advice for new starters:

  • Having trouble finding rocks? Ploughed fields, the odd one from the beach or stream are good places to look (always make sure you are allowed to remove any rocks from public places we don’t want bad press) and they can also be bought from the Pound Shop, garden centres and hobby shops.
  • No artistic talent required! You can decorate the rock however you like and you might get inspiration from the group pictures, keep it positive and keep it PG rated. You don’t know who will find it. You can do one rock or a bunch (warning it can get addictive).
  • Most people use acrylic paint and then varnish but some use nail varnish.
  • Remember to write on the back. If there is room write: ‘Keep or rehide me, Facebook, pebbleart and the name of the group’.
  • Where to hide… that’s up to you anywhere safe! Anything from on a park bench, on a lovely day trip, at the bus stop or the high street, somewhere in the office or on your own garden wall, anywhere you like. Everyone can join in.
  • We love to know your rocks are out there, please let us know where you have hidden your beauties, including town and country. Not all hidden rocks get a finder post, which makes each one more special, but every one makes someone smile. So thank you for joining in.
  • If you’re lucky enough to be a finder, you may keep your treasure or re-hide it for someone else to find.

    Other groups include Tameside Rocks and Love On The Rocks UK , which has 42k members and features pebbles found across the country.

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