Patients and their families can now enjoy a peaceful haven at Kelling Hospital, near Holt, after new gardens were opened.

The Pineheath ward gardens draw inspiration from the local environment and have been planted with trees, shrubs, and perennials to provide year-round interest from bark, stems, flowers and leaves.

The front garden has been designed to promote rehabilitation; linking two locally-themed areas, a seaside garden and a railway waiting room, and featuring gravel and astro-turfed paths, steps, ramps and gates. These will allow physiotherapists and nurses to work with patients adapting to new life circumstances, and building their confidence and capability so they can return home as soon as possible.

The rear garden is secluded and sheltered, providing a green space close to the hospital ward, where patients and families can spend time away from the clinical environment.

Ward manager Louise Hunt said: 'Since having the gardens completed, it has allowed a number of patients to enjoy the different senses and smells of outdoor living.

'Relatives now have the facility to take their loved ones outside and walk around the gardens; this in turn has helped to add value to their rehabilitation. This all results in a positive effect on patients' health and wellbeing.'

The creation of the gardens was made possible by a £90,000 grant from the Kelling Hospital Appeal, which has shown remarkable commitment to the hospital over many years, to the NCH&C Charitable Fund.

The appeal's chairman David Young said: 'In addition to the use of various surfaces and levels that contribute to occupational therapy, the healing benefits of pleasant and peaceful surroundings should not be underestimated. Such benefits hark back to the original purpose of the hospital, as a TB sanatorium.'

The hospital is run by Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C). The NCH&C Charitable Fund worked over 18 months with North Norfolk garden designer Jackie Finch, while the groundworks and structures were built by Ben Catt Landscapes.

Roisin Fallon-Williams, NCH&C's Chief Executive, and Geraldine Broderick, chairman, officially opened the new gardens.