Visiting Flatford with your dog
Dogs are welcome at Flatford, but please keep them on a lead at all times as there are grazing livestock and ground-nesting birds in the area. All of our walking trails are suitable for dogs.
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.
Flatford 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.
What you can expect at Flatford
- Water and drinking bowls at Bridge Cottage
- Dog bins located in the car park, near the toilets, on the far side of the bridge and at the start of the orange route walk
- A dog-friendly tea-room
- Walks with some shade
- Route maps
Where can I take my dog?
Dogs are allowed in all outside areas, as well as in the Boat House Gallery section of the tea-room, the Constable exhibition and Bridge Cottage.
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
Treat yourself to a cuppa and a tasty treat in the Flatford tea-room and find the ideal gift for you or a loved one in the shop.
Discover what family-friendly activities are on offer at Flatford in Suffolk, from walking by the River Stour, nature trails and geocaching.
Do you have some spare time and want to help us look after this special place that Constable loved to paint? Find out how you can apply to join the volunteering team at Flatford.
Learn about the work we do all year round at Flatford and the Dedham Vale, from ensuring traditional farming methods continue, to growing fresh produce in the kitchen garden.
Explore the Stour Valley and Dedham Vale, captured on canvas by artist John Constable, on this relaxing walk with short and long options.
Suffolk is home to several dog-friendly places in our care. Discover some of the best dog walking spots for your next adventure together.
After a good dog walk in the fresh air, find a place to sit and relax with your dog in a dog-friendly café.
If you’re bringing your dog to the places we care for, here’s information on the Canine Code and pawprint rating system to plan your visit.