'Stranger danger' keeps children shut up indoors

A lack of safe green spaces, too much traffic and "stranger danger" are stopping parents letting their children play outdoors, research suggests.

Excessive health and safety rules, the rise of computer games and other indoor entertainment, and over-full school days also pose barriers to children connecting with nature, a survey by the National Trust found.

A poll of more than 400 parents of under-12s conducted alongside the Natural Childhood inquiry revealed the biggest fear for children playing outdoors was stranger danger, cited by 37 per cent of those quizzed by YouGov.

Respondents said parents needed more accessible and family-friendly outdoor areas close to home.