Walks at Rufford

With stunning surroundings and a fascinating history for you to experience there is plenty to explore and discover on a trip to Rufford Abbey.

Set out for yourself and discover over 875 years of history into a short walk around the abbey ruins. Or alternatively take in our breathtaking surroundings and local nature and wildlife with a walk through our scenic grounds and woodland.

Apart from the Abbey ruins and some areas of rough ground out in the woodland, the site is flat and easy to get around. All public buildings can be accessed by wheelchair / mobility scooter.

(Please note that the Abbey Ruins are closed for repair works to be undertaken by English Heritage)

Abbey Grounds

Rufford Abbey has an attractive mixture of grounds and gardens surrounding the Abbey ruins for you to explore and discover for yourselves.

These include:

  • The Abbey Meadow, an informal grassland area where grass is left long in places for insects and butterflies
  • The Formal Gardens, including several interesting items of modern sculpture
  • The Reg Hookway Arboretum, running down to the Children's Adventure Play Area and featuring some unusual varities of birch
  • The Abbey Lawn and The Sheep Meadow, largely consisting of mown grassland that is fairly flat, making it the perfect place for younger visitors to let off steam. Picnics are also welcome here and family picnic tables are provided close to the lake path
  • The Lime Tree Avenue, a historic avenue of limes leading from the ornate Western Gates to the Abbey's west front
  • The Adventure Play Area for children, includes a castle, tunnels, sides and a double zip wire

Nature Trails

Perhaps the main attraction at Rufford for those with a love of the outdoors is our fantastic Wilderness Woodland.

This forested area is crossed by a number of informal crushed limestone paths, allowing you to truly lose yourself in the splendour of the countryside. These woods have been known as The Wilderness at least since 1725 and today are a wildlife sanctuary and the home of most of our common woodland mammals, including foxes and squirrels, and a wide range of woodland birds.

The woodland is primarily a shady area and can be fantasically varied depending on the season; beautifully accompanied by bluebells during spring, whilst the path edges are covered and obscured by leaves during autumn and winter.

You can also catch sight of our famous 'Ice Houses' while exploring the woodland, constructed in the 1820s in order to help the inhabitants of Rufford Abbey preserve food. 

Rufford Lake

The wildlife highlight of the park is undoubtedly the lake.

Created in 1750 as a source of water for a corn mill, the lake is now a haven for wildlife of all sorts, but particularly waterfowl. Their different feeding techniques are always interesting to watch, and there are also goof views on the eastern edge of the lake to watch the birds within the Silver Pool Nature Reserve.

There is a path of crushed limestone that circles the lake for those looking to explore on foot. Most of this circuit is flat, but there is one incline near "Scotland Bank" (indicated on the site access map), which may be a challenge to some wheelchair users.

Contact us today on: 01623 677688

Business Hours

  • Park Grounds:   Dawn to dusk
  • Admin Office:   10am - 4pm
  • Gift Shop:   10am - 4pm
  • Coach House Cafe:   9:30am to 5pm (subject to weather)
  • Courtyard:   9:30am to 5pm (subject to weather)

Managed By

About Us

Rufford Abbey Country Park is owned by Nottinghamshire County Council. Set in the heart of Robin Hood Country the park offers native woodland, a lake and gardens as well as a range of attractions, activities and catering options managed by Parkwood Outdoors.


Rufford Abbey Country Park Ollerton Nottinghamshire NG22 9DF