The timber-framed hall is all that survives from the original Rufford Old Hall which was built c1530 for Sir Robert Hesketh. In 1661, a brick wing was added with a third wing built in 1820s. In 1798, the Heskeths moved to Rufford New Hall and in 1936, Thomas Fermor-Hesketh, 1st Baron Hesketh gave the building to the National Trust. The gardens were laid out in the Victorian and Edwardian era and restored by the National Trust. They include herbaceous borders, topiary, orchards and woodland areas planted with rhododendrons and azaleas.
Around the garden, the paths are either firm gravel, or natural earth. (There are some areas of paved paths around the House). Both the gravel and the natural earth can become slightly slushy in bad weather. Tree roots can be trip hazards in the woods and along the canal paths.
The most direct path to the formal garden involves crossing the cobbled courtyard. You can avoid the cobbles by crossing the grass around the side of the Tudor Great Hall to get to the formal garden. There are no steps or stiles in the formal garden – it is all level access.
There are bridges and natural earth paths in the woods.