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Duchess of Cambridge opens new play garden aimed at children

New features include two connected tree houses and slides. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

The Duchess of Cambridge has opened a new garden aimed at giving children space to play.

Tree houses, bouncing forests and wildflower meadows all feature in the Back To Nature garden at RHS Wisley in Surrey, which the Duchess opened on Tuesday afternoon.

The area, which will be a permanent feature of the horticultural centre, is aimed at supporting the health and well-being of children.

Kate’s co-created gardens were previously exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show and the Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, with the aim of highlighting how time outdoors can enrich a child’s early development Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

The play-focused garden is the final one to be opened this year by the duchess.

It follows on from an earlier creation, which she opened at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this summer.

Elements of this garden are mirrored at the new site.

The final Back to Nature space includes elements like the hollow log from Chelsea and the wildflower meadow and rolling hill showcased at Hampton Court Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

Opening the new garden, the duchess said in a speech: "As a parent, I have learnt just how important it is to foster our children’s development, in all areas, not just physical, as soon as they are born.

"We build the blocks, the foundations, for future success and happiness later in their lives."

Kate met local children at the event, and was pictured alongside former Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry.

Kate met local children at the event, alongside former Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

She also confessed: "I am not as green fingered as many of you here, but I was passionate about creating a garden that inspired children and adults alike to get back to nature and reap the positive mental and physical health benefits that it can bring."

Kate added: "The experiences we gain during our earliest years influence who we become as people. They influence how we interact in school, in work and in society and, ultimately how we bring up our own children.

"Whether it is planting, exploring, digging, creating, or playing; quality time spent outside provides children with the perfect environment to form those positive relationships with the people in their lives and the world around them."

The Duchess Of Cambridge looks at part of a play area during her visit to the Back To Nature Festival at the gardens Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

The newly-founded garden includes features from the original garden at Chelsea, including the hollow log and boulders from the waterfall. A wildflower meadow, hidden burrow and rolling hill have also been created.

Previously unseen features include new elements include a ‘bouncing forest’, where visitors can jump on trampolines surrounded by trees.

There are also two treehouses linked via a walkway with slides, and a living willow pod.

The garden has been inspired by previous open spaces she co-created with landscape architects Andree Davies and Adam White Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

During the visit, Kate played with children and danced with a 15-month-old.

The duchess placed her hand on the head of the toddler, whose name is Matilda.

She then playfully rubbed her hair as she relaxed with families invited to the event.

The duchess toured the festival, which had a village fete feel, watching toddlers trying their luck at a coconut shy, while nearby was a cake stall covered with sweet treats.

The project, which also had input from the RHS, is aimed at encouraging family and friends to have fun together Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

Proud mum Sarah Griffiths, 25, described her encounter with Kate as "overwhelming" but "exciting" while her daughter Matilda had taken it in her stride.

Ms Griffiths, from Southend, said the duchess had talked about her son Prince Louis, who at 16 months old is a similar to Matilda: "She was talking about her son going up and smelling flowers."

The 25-year-old said: "The experience was a bit overwhelming, it's still a bit of a daze but really exciting."

His mother Katie Vinton, 32, from Woking, said: "Kate asked, ‘Are you a tiger?’" to which her son replied, "No, it’s just face paint."