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Visiting Rufford Old Hall with your dog

Visitors walking their dogs in the garden at Sizergh, Cumbria
Explore the North Woods with your dog at Rufford Old Hall | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Dogs are welcome to explore certain areas of Rufford Old Hall, but must be kept on a short lead. Find out where you can go with your dog, what facilities are available to them and other important information.

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.

Rufford Old Hall is a one pawprint rated place.

Dogs are welcome here, but facilities are limited. Read on to discover exactly where you can take your dog.

Where can my dog go?

Dogs are welcome on short leads in the North Woods, North Paddock and cobbled Courtyard. This map highlights the areas in which your dog is allowed - Rufford Old Hall map.

There is also a dog friendly circular walk on the outskirts of Rufford Old Hall, where you can enjoy the peaceful sights along the Leeds and Liverpool canal - Circular walk at Rufford Old Hall

Only assistance dogs are welcome in all areas of the grounds and the House.

Where can't my dog go?

Owing to the size of Rufford Old Hall and the fact that it is a Grade I listed building, dogs are not allowed in the House, formal Garden, Beech or Orchard Paddocks.

Only assistance dogs are welcome in all areas of the grounds and the House.

Assistance dog
Assistance dog | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

What facilities are available for my dog?

  • A water bowl for thirsty dogs is situated in the cobbled Courtyard.
  • An outside tap can be found in the cobbled Courtyard and a bucket provided if necessary to clean up any mess.
  • You'll find a bin to dispose of dog waste in the cobbled Courtyard.
  • Please bring your own dog bags to pick up any waste. Dog waste left on the ground, even in dog bags, is not only unpleasant but also dangerous to the wildlife that call this place home.

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.

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
Two visitors are walking past a bright green lawn which has decorative bushes planted on it, towards the house at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire, on a bright sunny day.

Discover more at Rufford Old Hall

Find out when Rufford Old Hall 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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