A new family-friendly phenomenon is sweeping through Ealing which will leave no stone unturned by children in west London.
Ealing Rock Hunters, a Facebook group set up by local resident Gayle Cope, encourages people of all ages to paint a rock, take a picture of it, and hide it for someone else to find.
Members of the group, also known as the 'Rockettes', will then post the picture of the rock and a clue about its location on the group's page so others can search around for it.
When someone finds a rock, all of which are all painted with a variety of designs, colours and characters, they can then re-hide it to allow the trail to continue for another person.
So far, more than 500 members have hidden rocks around Ealing, including ones at Elthorn Park, Lammas Park, Walpole Park and more.
Gayle Cope, 44, of Hanwell, said the project has been fantastic and has encouraged children of all ages to get outdoors during their holidays.
The mother-of-three said: “Rock hunting is for everyone, from grandparents to one-year-olds. Anyone can join in, it's so accessible.
“What's particularly great about it is that it gives going for a walk about more of a purpose, it makes people stop and look around them.
She added: “It's getting children active without them knowing that they are being active, it gets families out and about and has them exploring parks and having fun.
“It's a fantastic way to unite the community, it's like giving a gift to a stranger.”
Since the group was launched in July, colourful rocks have been hidden in plant pots, phone booths, hedges, trees and play areas.
The phenomenon has also proved popular in Shropshire and areas in Australia, and Gayle now hopes the trend will spread to incorporate North Ealing, Acton and more of west London.
Speaking about Ealing Rock Hunters, mother-of-two Lyndsay Haywood said: “My craft-shy son and craft loving daughter loved decorating the rocks and hiding them along local streets.
“We love spotting if they are still there waiting to be found and waiting for clues to find others.
“It's a great way to make walks fun and involve the whole community.”
Tamar Steinreich Lamb, a mother-of-two, added: “It's been a great addition to the summer holidays.
“Rather than just going to the park, it's made a trip out have more of a purpose.
"Decorating and talking about the best hiding places.”
“It's been something we've all got involved with as a family which has been lovely,” local resident Sapna Pieroux said.
“Even our craft-shy boys have got painting on rainy days so they can join the hunting and hiding on sunnier ones.
“A fun and virtually-free activity for keeping them amused all holiday, getting them off the iPads and a lovely community experience - I've been wowed by all the artistic talent out there too!”
If the phenomenon continues to gain momentum, Gayle hopes themed rocks can be designed and hidden during Easter, Halloween and Christmas.
Visit Ealing Rock Hunters's Facebook page to get involved with this colourful new phenomenon.
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