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Visiting Mottisfont with your dog

A small white dog walking on a muddy path
Visiting Mottisfont with your four-legged friend | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Dogs are welcome to explore most of the garden at Mottisfont. We ask that you keep dogs on a short lead at all times while you visit so that everyone can enjoy their time here.

The Canine Code

We’ve worked with our partner Forthglade to come up with this Canine Code, which helps to make sure everyone can enjoy their day:

  • Keep them close: using a short lead helps to keep your dog from disturbing ground-nesting birds and farm animals. It's essential to use a short lead around sheep. But if cattle approach you, it's best to let your dog off the lead, and call them back when it's safe to do so.
  • Pick up the poo: please always clear up after your dog. If you can't find a bin nearby, take the poo bags home with you.
  • Watch the signs: keep an eye on local signs and notices wherever you're walking. They'll tell you if a beach has a dog ban, for instance, or if a path has been diverted, or if you're in an area where dogs can run off-lead.
  • Stay on the ball: remember that not everyone loves dogs, and some people fear them. So make sure your dog doesn't run up to other people, especially children.
Two large dogs on leads held by two people on a path at Lanhydrock, Cornwall, with grass and fallen autumn leaves beyond
Help everyone have an enjoyable visit by following the canine code | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Our pawprint rating system

We’ve been working on making it easier for you to find out how dog-friendly your visit will be before you and your four-legged friend arrive. To help with this, we've created a new pawprint rating system and given all the places in our care a rating. You can find this information in the National Trust members’ handbook.

Mottisfont is a two pawprint rated place.

These places have water bowls, dog bins and dog-friendly walks. You’ll be able to take your dog into some areas, but not everywhere. If there’s a food and beverage outlet, you can have a cup of tea with them, probably outside. Read on to discover exactly where you can take your dog.

Where can my dog go?

Dogs are welcome in most of the garden on a short lead at all times. You'll find a dog-friendly indoor café area in the Stables (either the Coffee Shop or within the Coach House).

They're also welcome on the wider estate where they can roam more freely, although please be mindful that this is a wildlife conservation area and will also sometimes have grazing livestock. Why not visit nearby Spearywell Wood, a three-minute drive (or 15-minute walk) from the visitor car park?

The visitor reception team can advise you on the best places for dogs on arrival, and where you can find appropriate bins. There are maps on site which can help you, or download the map for dog walkers.

Facilities available for my dog

You'll find water bowls on the visitor reception terrace and by the outdoor seating area for the Coach House Café in the Stableyard.

There are dog bins in the car park near the entrance to visitor reception, behind the stables and at the top of the main pathway, towards the walled garden entrance.

Where can't my dog go?

Only assistance dogs are allowed in the walled garden, formal lawns behind and in front of the house, and most indoor areas (the house, gallery and Old Kitchen café). Please don’t let dogs paddle or swim in the river or streams, to keep them healthy and to avoid disturbing wildlife.

Keeping control of your dog

Our definition of close or effective control is: ​

  • Being able to recall your dogs in any situation at the first call
  • Being able to clearly see your dog at all times (not just knowing they have gone into the undergrowth or over the crest of the hill). In practice, this means keeping them on a footpath if the surrounding vegetation is too dense for your dog to be visible
  • Not allowing them to approach other visitors without their consent
  • Having a lead with you to use if you encounter livestock or wildlife, or if you are asked to use one

Visiting the south-west Hampshire countryside with my dog

Dogs are also welcome in the Mottisfont estate woodlands and other countryside places we care for in south-west Hampshire. If you're a professional dog walker, you're welcome to make use of these sites if you're licensed with us. Find out more about visiting the south-west Hampshire countryside with your dog.

Visitors in the walled rose garden at Mottisfont, Hampshire

Discover more at Mottisfont

Find out when Mottisfont is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

Our partners


We've partnered with natural pet food maker Forthglade so that you and your dog can get even more out of the special places we care for.

Visit website 

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