Walks and Tours 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.

Either set out for yourself or join one of our rangers on a walking tour as they condense over 870 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.

History Tour

With so much history on offer here at Rufford Abbey there is lots to see and learn during your visit and there is no better way to do so than by taking part in one of our history tours.

Join one of our rangers on a whistle stop tour as they condense over 870 years of history into a short walk around the abbey ruins surrounding the site and the scheduled ancient monument. 

This walk involves steps and uneven surfaces so is not suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs or people with mobility issues. 

The walk lasts approximately one hour and fifteen minutes, simply meet our guides outside the tourist information point when you are looking to start.

Alternatively you can make use of our guidebooks, visitor display signs or even our mobile application to guide you around and help impart the fascinating story that Rufford Abbey has to tell.

For your young ones, we also have this fun Crafty Critters Trail you can try while exploring our site! 

Want to find out more about our tours?

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 Play Village 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 Play Village, a play zone for younger children, including a dragon gateway and sound sculpture
  • The Abbot's Maze, consisting of wooden posts set into the ground in a wheel design. The maze is wide enough for most wheelchairs

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 821338

Business Hours

  • Park Grounds -   Dawn to dusk
  • Visitor Information -   Daily 10.30am - 4.30pm
  • Shops -   Daily 10.30am - 5.00pm (4.30pm winter)
  • Coach House Cafe -   10.00am - 5pm (4.30pm winter)
  • Lord Savile's Kitchen   Daily 11am -3pm weekdays. (To 4pm weekends)


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.

Address

Rufford Abbey Country Park Ollerton Nottinghamshire NG22 9DF