The duchess holds a snake while visiting Ark Open Farm in Newtownards Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The duchess got up close and personal to a number of creatures at the Ark Open Farm in Newtownards

The Duchess of Cambridge has met young children during a visit to an open farm in County Down, Northern Ireland.

In a one-stop solo visit on Wednesday, the duchess received a guided tour of the Ark Open Farm outside Newtownards, meeting the owners and staff.

The mother-of-three is highlighting Early Years, a charity supporting young children and their families.

During her visit she met local representatives of the charity and families who have benefited from it.

The duchess was greeted on arrival by the Lord Lieutenant of County Down, David Lindsay, the Sheriff of County Down, Austin Baird and the Mayor of Ards and North Down, Bill Keery.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image copyright Getty Images

Last month, Catherine launched a landmark national survey on the early years development of children.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos Mori on behalf of the Royal Foundation, is thought to be the biggest survey of its kind, asking “five big questions on the under-fives”.

The duchess has made the issue of the “future health and happiness” central to her public activities and hopes the results of the survey spark a conversation on early childhood and guide the focus of her work.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Well-wishers turned out to greet the duchess on her first solo-visit to Northern Ireland
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Catherine spoke to members of staff from the farm

On Tuesday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced on Twitter they would be visiting the Republic of Ireland from 3 to 5 March.

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