A trail of brightly coloured painted rocks are now more than half way along Broadwalk in Buxton reaching a new milestone of 3,000 contributions. The project has captured local people’s imagination and community spirit, with hundreds of the designs giving thanks to NHS and key workers.
Buxton resident Clare Cartledge, who started the ‘Covid-19 snake’ in early May with a hand full of her own creations said she’s amazed at how it’s taken off.
“It’s really bought the community together during lockdown. I can’t believe there are now more than 3,000 rocks. New ones appear every day and it’s over way down Braodwalk – wow! The designs people have created are brilliant. Lots of people stop to look at the rocks and everyone of all ages really love them. It’s clearly evoked lots of emotion in people, you can tell by what people say when they walk past. Some of the comments from passers by have been lovely”, said Clare.
The project is inspired by the painted rock hiding craze (or so-called ‘happiness rocks’) where people paint a rock and hide it for someone to find and finders are asked to take a photo and post to Facebook, being careful not to give away its location; they can then either keep the rock, leave it or take it to another location to hide.
Hundreds of rock painters give thanks to NHS and key workers
Many of the rocks feature moral boosting messages and give thanks to NHS and key workers. Rainbows feature heavily too, which has become the global symbol of hope and positivity during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The rocks with messages of hope and togetherness are fantastic. I hope if a nurse or a care worker walks past and sees them, it can help brighten up their day – they’re on the front line fighting this battle and putting their lives at risk for us. People are so thankful for what they doing for our nation”.
Some striking designs spotted include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the moon landing scene from 1969, a dinosaur egg, a Spitfire and even a 3D ‘rock’ recreation of Burbage Band.
‘Snake food’ donated to help him grow
Clare went on to say, “painting the rocks is so therapeutic and it’s been so nice for people to feel connected to each other in such difficult times. If you’ve never tried rock painting before, it’s really easy and an ideal activity for everyone to enjoy.”
To help him ‘grow’, Fairfield Builders are now kindly donating ‘snake food’ every few days to encourage people to get involved and paint some rocks.
“All you need is acrylic paints, which you can buy cheaply online and you must varnish them once the paint is dry, (spray or yacht varnish is fine and not expensive), otherwise the paint will wash off if it rains,” says Clare.
Residents from The Argyle Nursing Home have contributed their designs as well as Burbage Band, Buxton Museum, Buxton W.I and even local artists.
Snake grows across the High Peak
Towns across the High Peak have been inspired by Buxton’s ‘Covid snake’ and begun their own in Chapel-en-le-Frith, Whaley Bridge and New Mills with huge success with local communities keen to get involved in the fun.
People are being asked not to take the rocks but to contribute. “This is different to the usual game so we just want people to add their rocks to the ‘snake’. We don’t want to contribute to any potential spread of the virus so we’d ask people not to touch the rocks and please social distance with others when you visit the snake – most of all, enjoy this unique outdoor art installation!”.
Having now reached almost half the length of Broadwalk, the aim is that the Covid-19 Snake goes all the way round the gardens. “I’d love to see it go all the way round!”, said Clare.
“If we can make someone smile who is by themselves or make people happy when they’re out, or on their way to work, we’ve done a good job”.
Follow and join the HP Rocks facebook group: facebook.com/groups/HPRocks