just one in ten children gets to play regularly in parks, fields and woods - leading experts to fear that anxious parents are raising a generation of 'cotton-wool kids' denied the independence, experience and education gained by exploring the great outdoors.
85 per cent of parents said in a study carried out by Natural England that they would like their children to be able to play outdoors unsupervised but feared they would be abducted by strangers or hit by a car.
Critics have blamed the increasing number of children deprived of the joys of tree-climbing, pond-dipping and accepting sweets from kindly strangers on the rise of the 'nanny state' under New Labour.
A source said: 'It's all these woolly minded, hand wringing liberals terrified of their children tripping over hedgehogs and eating conkers. That 'elf 'n' safety is to blame for making everyone think the world is full of hazards and filthy sex beasts - thank god we have The Daily Mail to tell us it's all ok in a straightforward, unhypocritical manner without contradicting themselves ever.'