PAINTED rocks have been mysteriously appearing in parks and streets around Bolton and families are starting to join the fun.

Hand-painted rocks are being discovered across Westhoughton. Who exactly started the trend is unknown, but families are on the hunt to find as many of the special rocks as they can, before hiding them again for the next lucky passerby.

The rocks feature a range of colourful designs, from ladybirds to film characters as well as personal messages, and the number appears to be growing thanks to artistic children contributing their own.

Westhoughton local Julie Latham and her five-year-old daughter Amelia stumbled upon the quirky new activity. Ms Latham said: “My little girl Amelia and I were walking along Market Street in Westhoughton when we spotted a couple of painted rocks which had been placed in the doorway of a local shop.

“On the back somebody had written the website for Westhoughton rocks and I realised what they were. My little girl was so excited to find them so we continued to hunt for more. We went into Ditchfield Gardens and also into Central Park and found many more. We took them, took photos then re-hid them.”

The adventures have become a tradition for the mother-daughter search team.

She added: “It became a bit of a game for us every time we went for a walk. My little girl loved looking for them in trees and bushes and then re-hiding them. We made some of our own at home.

Ms Latham says that the pictures of hunters’ findings on the Westhoughton Rocks Facebook page have started a small community.

She said: “We went hunting down Hall Lee Bank Park because I saw in the Facebook page that people had hidden them there too. It was lovely when we posted photos online because people would comment or like the photo, especially if it was their own rock that they had hidden and we had found. They were delighted that we had found it.

For fellow Westhoughton rock hunter Stephanie Lucas, the Facebook group also inspired her to join the search. She has found as many as 20 rocks, but says there could be far more in total. She said: “I saw a few Facebook posts last year of people painting rocks and started joining in. I enjoy doing it in the evening, my children enjoy painting them too.”