Tenacious New Mills five-year-old sparks 200-metre-long painted 'rock snake'

A line of painted rocks beside a New Mills footpath started by a five-year-old boy has snowballed to nearly 1,400 - stretching almost 200 metres.

The public display - known locally as the ‘rock snake’ - was started by Charlie Wild when lockdown first began in March.

Mum Katie Hicks told how Charlie took on the landscaping job after seeing a similar one on Facebook saying ‘he wanted to do it for everyone in New Mills’.

The ‘outdoorsy’ youngster started by painting a snake’s head with Katie then placing a few signs nearby asking others to join in.

Charlie Wild next to Charles the snake's head

Katie told how within a week the installation - which her son named ‘Charles the snake’ - was over 500 rocks long as others in the town joined in.

Now the colourful art display - winding its way between St Georges Road and New Mills Leisure Centre - is made of rocks decorated with everything from NHS tributes to rainbows, ladybirds and bees.

New Mills residents pick up rocks placed at the end of the snake every day by Redmoor Senior Building Supplies - painting them and adding to the giant reptilian.

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Charlie Wild hard at work on the next batch of rocks

Katie, 29, said: “Charlie is so amazed and pleased with himself - especially after his school tweeted about it.

“He paints rocks every day and is down there 4-5 times a week with me adding to it and making sure all the rocks are straight - he’s so proud of himself.

“Charlie says he’d like to keep it going until the end of the summer holidays to get it all the way to the leisure centre - and we’d love to see it cemented in place by the local council.”

Doting mum Katie said Charles the snake had ‘brought people together’.

Proud mum Katie Hicks with Charlie

She added: “Adults and the older generation get involved too - not just kids.

“People walk down there just to have a look at it and there are rocks there painted with ‘well done Charlie’ as well.

“I’m so proud of him - he’s a really outdoorsy child and he loves school so he’s missed it quite a lot.”