St Albans Rocks - the new craze sweeping the Hertfordshire city

PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 July 2017

Nicola Wong with some of the rocks. Photo: JOHN AND NICOLA WONG

Nicola Wong with some of the rocks. Photo: JOHN AND NICOLA WONG

Archant

An international craze which has already swept America and New Zealand is now taking St Albans by storm.

Harry, Ella and Phoebe with the launch rocks. Photo: JOHN AND NICOLA WONGHarry, Ella and Phoebe with the launch rocks. Photo: JOHN AND NICOLA WONG

Nicola Wong has brought St Albans Rocks to the city after being introduced to the idea when visiting a friend in New Zealand.

The craze - which involves finding, decorating and hiding small rocks - gripped Kiwi families during the 2016 Christmas period after several Facebook groups based on the activity sprang up around the country, based on a project started in the USA.

Ms Wong now hopes to get as many people in St Albans district involved as possible.

“The plan is that people find out about the project by seeing it online or by coming across a rock,” she said.

Harry and Ella with rocks. Photo: JOHN AND NICOLA WONGHarry and Ella with rocks. Photo: JOHN AND NICOLA WONG

“On that rock should be written the Facebook group.

“The idea is people re-hide the rocks they find, and go home and make more.”

The simplicity and minimal cost of the activity has meant dozens of families across the district have joined in with the project.

Many have posted their finds and their own rocks on social media for others to enjoy.

Harry and Ella with the rocks. Photo: JOHN AND NICOLA WONGHarry and Ella with the rocks. Photo: JOHN AND NICOLA WONG

Ms Wong said the Facebook group, St Albans Rocks UK, grew by 300 members in the week after she set up stall at the Alban Festival.

“Everybody I speak to and come across is very enthusiastic about it and very excited about finding new rocks,” she said.

“It has been brilliant to see people coming to paint rocks. Seeing people smile at the thought of going to find more is fantastic.”

She is now working with St Albans council so rocks can be spread across the district’s public parks.

Nicola with the rocks. Photo: JOHN AND NICOLA WONGNicola with the rocks. Photo: JOHN AND NICOLA WONG

She has also been in touch with community groups, including the Women’s Institute and the scouts, about them getting involved.

“The whole ethos is to encourage people to get out and explore our outdoors,” Ms Wong said.

“Many people say it is like geocaching but it’s not very digital - it’s very hands-on and very creative. It gives young people the opportunity to have an adventure.”

Beaver Scout leader Katharine Hughes said: “The Beavers absolutely loved it, to the point they wanted to keep their rocks rather than hide them.

Beavers painting rocks. Photo: KATHARINE HUGHESBeavers painting rocks. Photo: KATHARINE HUGHES

“It goes towards their badges as well, so it’s great they had a good time doing it.”

Ms Wong is also running a crowdfunding page for St Albans Rocks, which can be found here: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/stalbansrocks

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