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Project: Play for Life Garden

This page was last updated: December 2nd, 2021

A new garden for young hospital patients and their families to enjoy.
The new Play for Life Garden is replacing the original children’s garden and play area on the Treliske Hospital site. This garden was removed in 2020 to make way for the construction of the Tremenel Unit.

The new garden will be located behind Wheal Prosper Ward and adjacent to the new Impact building (behind the Princess Alexandra Wing).

Plan of the Play for Life Garden showing areas for sail sheltered pergola and picnic area, wendy house, gallery space, willow dome and hammock within turf bowl, lawn, swing, herb garden, orchard, flower garden,, wild flower maze, jungle border against Penlee House, climbing poles, cargo nets, garden gate, wildflower woodland, tree castle, climbing frame.

This image shows the master plan for the Play for Life garden. Some play equipment will be provided at a later date, as additional funding becomes available.

This is a quiet, safe area, away from traffic and yet only a short walk from the maternity and paediatric wards. Innovative and playful signage will direct patients and their families and carers to this new space once it opens.

The new garden, designed by local company EarthRight, has been specially created for children and their parents, families, and carers to enjoy during treatment, or whilst visiting, the Royal Cornwall Hospital. The design has had input from the Trust’s specialist play team, families, and patients.

Spending time in nature leads to improvements in mental health and physical, and emotional, well-being for all people, and this new space will deliver a diverse but welcoming natural environment for children to explore.

The garden design deliberately does not incorporate the typical soft surfaces and equipment seen in schools or village play areas; instead, the design considers the accessibility and sensory needs of young people, as well as providing space for rest and reflection away from the clinical environment.

Initially, the garden will feature quiet picnic areas, some play space and stimulating sensory flower gardens. Over time, the scope of the project will be extended to include artwork; bird boxes; an “insect hotel”, a pergola and additional play equipment.

Hospital staff, and residents in the nearby staff accommodation, will also be able to enjoy the garden when it is not in use by patients and their families and carers.


Whilst the new garden is being constructed there will be little, if any, disruption for patients due to the quiet location of the garden.

Staff in the residential accommodation directly adjoining the garden may experience some noise during the landscaping phase, but this will be kept to a minimum.


The ecological impact assessment undertaken to support the planning application for the Tremenel Unit requires a net gain in ecological diversity.

The new (Play for Life) will be planted with a variety of evergreens, flowering plants, and shrubs. The garden will also have a number of trees planted, in close proximity to each other, to create a copse effect. Shrub hedging will provide screening for some privacy and will encourage children to play and explore.

A range of perennial plants which are known to thrive in the Cornish climate will provide colour, scent, and texture.

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