SUPPORTERS of Darwen's Sunnyhurst Woods are celebrating its inclusion as a beauty sport highlighted in a new 'alternative' national park.

It is one of several East Lancashire landmarks featured in the 'self declared' South Pennines Park.

The initiative 'aims to champion the landscape, its people and businesses to unlock resources for the only upland in England not a designated National Park or Area of Outstanding Beauty'.

The South Pennines Park covers 460 sq miles.

It takes in moorland beside Blackburn, Burnley, Bacup, Colne and Ramsbottom in bid to afford it the same protection as the Lake District, Peak District and Yorkshire Dales.

The it was officially launched this month featuring specially-written song lyrics in chosen areas – including Darwen.

To mark the occasion of the launch, words from the park anthem have been stencilled around Sunnyhurst Woods and other ‘hot spot’ locations – sprayed in a temporary eco-friendly water-based paint.

So far, the blue ‘graffiti’ featuring the final verse of the song ‘Chimneys, Moors and Me’ by folk due O’Hooley and Tidow has appeared outside the Kala Sangam Arts Centre in Bradford, Sunnyhurst Woods in Darwen, Bacup town centre in Rossendale and Towneley Park in Burnley.

Blackburn with Darwen Borough councillor Dave Smith, who represents the Darwen West ward which includes Sunnyhurst Woods, said: "Sunnyhurst Woods is absolutely beautiful woodland and one of the jewels in the crown of the borough.

"It absolutely deserves its place in the launch of this new alternative national park and I hope people will go along to take a look at the song lyrics and enjoy the wonderful woods.”