Haddon Hall is a fortified medieval manor house set high on a limestone outcrop with fine examples of medieval and Tudor architecture. It is surrounded by terraced gardens of just under two acres, restored in the early 20th Century by the 9th Duke of Rutland. The river Wye runs through the grounds and is crossed by a small stone bridge along the driveway to the house. The gardens are accessed via the house.
Gradients and Steps
The location of Haddon Hall on a limestone bluff means that there are steep gradients throughout. The interior is challenging for those who find steps, undulations and changes of level difficult. It is not suitable for wheelchairs or wheeled mobility aides, but may be suitable for visitors using walking sticks or frames. Most steps do not have handrails.
Car Park and Entrance
The main visitor route including the car park, ticket office and visitor gift shop is on level ground. There is a 366 metre walk from the car park which is surfaced with a local limestone mix (and therefore not smooth) to the main entrance and restaurant. The route includes a busy main road crossing (with a traffic island) and a small bridge where pedestrians are given priority over vehicles. The carriageway over the bridge is 2.8 m wide. There is a low parapet on the bridge varying from 420mm to 660mm at its highest height. This protects pedestrians from a drop of four metres into the river Wye. Inset lighting is provided along one side of the bridge.
The main entrance to the house is accessed by a long set of 32 stone steps with a handrail.
Mobile phone reception in the house and gardens is intermittent. In an emergency, house staff can quickly access a landline and call for support services.
No wi-fi is available for visitors to use in any part of the hall, gardens, or the restaurant.
Dogs are not allowed within the house and gardens. Assistance dogs are allowed throughout. These dogs must be kept under control at all times since cattle graze on land adjoining the house and the drive up to the house and restaurant.
There are stretches of unfenced river – fast flowing and deep when in flood – adjacent to the bridge on Haddon Hall’s driveway. There are further stretches in the Chapel field which is used on event days during the open season. There is also a shallow, but unfenced, pond on the Fountain Terrace in Haddon Hall’s gardens.
Carers are admitted free to Haddon Hall, but they are expected to remain with their caree at all times. Carers will need to provide identification documents if requested by Haddon Hall staff.
The Hall is lit with a limited number of electric lights. These are supplemented by portable lighting during evening events. The windows are glazed and uncovered, and the use of natural lighting is maximised. Visitors need to take care when entering the Hall and take time to adjust to the more subdued lighting. The Medieval Kitchens particularly have very little natural light.
Pushchairs and Wheelchairs
Pushchairs and wheel chairs are generally not permitted within the house or gardens. Changes of level, steps and uneven stone floors, within the house make access and egress impractical. The Gardens are terraced and therefore unsuitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Children and Vulnerable Adults
Baby carriers are available for loan on request at parents’ discretion. Haddon Hall provides an area beneath the restaurant and in the upper courtyard to safely store pushchairs.
The Gardens contains unguarded drops and very low parapets; visitors are also advised to keep close attention to young children and vulnerable adults.
Seating is available in the Great Hall and Long Gallery within the house. There are benches on the Fountain Terrace, and on the upper and lower terraces in the Gardens.
Haddon Hall has one main block of toilets on the ground floor of the stable block at the end of the driveway approximately 366 metres from the car park. They are accessed across the gravelled area up a small lip step, rising to another entrance step and then level ground with four ladies’ toilets and one accessible toilet to the left. The accessible toilet has an emergency alarm cord, audible in the restaurant upstairs. The gents’ toilet is accessed up one step to the right under the arched entrance.
The toilets are lit with automatic lighting and have electric hand driers.
There are baby changing facilities within the ladies’ toilets and a covered space where parents can leave prams and push chairs.
There are two additional toilets in the lower courtyard inside Haddon Hall. Visitors must first navigate the long set of entrance stairs or, if inside the house or gardens, come down through the main house and public rooms, cross the courtyard with two sets of uneven steps and enter near to the museum and house entrance. There are also additional baby changing facilities here. These toilets are lit with wall switch overhead lights and there is an electric hand drier.
Golf Buggy Service
There are five (5) parking spaces provided for Blue Badge holders in the Haddon Hall car park. These are located at the closest point to the traffic island and driveway entrance. There is no vehicular access for visitors to the house and restaurant beyond this point.
Haddon Hall operates a buggy service for visitors who are unable to navigate the 366 metres to the house and/or the steps up to it. Buggy stops are at the Gatehouse and at the end of the drive near the Gardener’s Cottage and restaurant.
This service can be arranged via the car park or ticket office staff. The buggy can deliver visitors to the rear of the house (to the garden entrance) thus avoiding the long series of steps up to the house. Visitors are reminded that they need to be capable of navigating the steps throughout the house once transported to the rear. The house guides will collect visitors from the garden entrance and escort them back to the buggy stops. The buggy cannot run in extreme weather conditions and is subject to availability. If the buggy service is not available, staff in the car park will be able to advise visitors on arrival.
Arrival and Parking Facilities
There are brown tourist signs on key junctions nearby. The postcode of DE45 1LA will bring visitors using a satellite navigation to the Haddon Hall car park on the opposite side of the road (A6) to the main entrance, which is 2 miles south from Bakewell along the A6 and 1.6 miles north of Rowsley.
A site map and information sign is located in the Haddon Hall car park which shows the position of the pedestrian route from the centre of the car park to the pedestrian crossing point on the A6, a fast arterial route with a 50mph speed limit. Visitors are advised to cross with care using the traffic island. This has tactile paving on the kerb to aid visitors with a visual impairment when crossing the road. Details on the map indicate distances, steps and terraces within the grounds of the house.
The car park at Haddon also has signs located close to the pedestrian exit giving visitors Health and Safety information. These signs also provide guidance on restrictions on bringing large bags and rucksacks into the house (with the exception of medical equipment).
The pedestrian entrance to Haddon Hall is shared with occasional vehicular access for the family and urgent deliveries to the house using the driveway. Visitors are advised to take care entering the driveway and vehicles are limited to a 5 mph speed limit. The visitor shop is located under the gatehouse arch, and as access under the arch is also shared with occasional vehicles, visitors are advised to take care when exiting the shop.
Entrance and Lower Courtyard
Haddon Hall and its gardens contain uneven surfaces and stone steps throughout with no handrails. Once through the main gated entrance to the Hall (with ancient worn threshold steps), there are eight (8) further steps up to the lower courtyard. This courtyard is surfaced with large stone flags creating an uneven surface. A set of four (4) steps follow with a stone threshold to access the ground floor of the Hall through the Porch.
The Museum is accessed from the lower level of the Lower Courtyard to the left of the main entrance. Two stone steps, each 80mm in height, lead down to a level wooden floor. The room is well-lit with a window providing natural light, supplemented by overhead ambient lighting.
The Exhibition Room
The Exhibition Room is accessed from main level of the Lower Courtyard, having ascended eight (8) steps up. A doorway to the right with a low lintel and two shallow steps each approximately 65mm in height and unevenly worn lead onto a level wooden floor. A right turn through another low doorway with a wooden threshold approximately 50mm in height leads into a well-lit room with natural light from a window supplemented by spotlights.
The Tapestry Room
The Tapestry Room is also accessed from the main level of the Lower Courtyard via a door on the right. There is a stone lip in the doorway and floor levels differ on either side, being approximately 60mm up from courtyard level when entering, with a drop of 170mm down to the internal floor. This internal wooden floor is level and the room is lit by natural light from a window and spotlighting within.
The chapel is a short walk across the lower courtyard to a covered entrance which leads to the large chapel doorway. There is a curved threshold stone ridge (about 70mms high) and a drainage channel to negotiate followed by three (3) stone steps down and one (1) further stone step into the main part of the chapel. Once inside there are two (2) small steps leading up to the altar. The floor is worn stone and uneven throughout and lit by natural light with no supplementary lighting.
On entering the ground floor of the house through the Porch and Great Hall, the Kitchen can be accessed to the left down one deep step from the Screens Passage into a long narrow sloping corridor with no natural light, one electric light and a floodlight at the entrance to the passage. The kitchen has an uneven stone flagged floor, sparsely lit from small windows and limited artificial lighting. There are through rooms (the bakery and butchery) which have deep single steps up. The kitchen range also contains two side rooms, both with lip steps in and with uneven stone floors and limited lighting.
The Great Hall
The Hall is accessed via the Screens Passage which has worn and uneven stone floors. The Hall has a large open fire which is lit throughout the seasons and guarded with a large fire guard. The floor has a covering of sisal matting but the stone floor is exposed around the edges. There is a significant amount of natural light from the large windows and the room has two window seats.
The Parlour leads off the Great Hall via a narrow passage with a single overhead light and stone floor. There is a single step down through a small door at the end of the passage into the garden. This door is also a fire exit. There is a single deep step down from the passage into the Parlour. There are a further two steps down into a bay window. This room has a level wooden floor and ambient lighting. The open fire is lit occasionally and guarded.
Great Hall to first floor
There are 18 steps in total from the Great Hall to the first floor landing. A wide even set of eight (8) stone steps lead to a half landing. The steps are lit by two windows with natural light and an electric light. There is no handrail on this staircase. There follows a right turn from the half landing and a further ten (10) stone steps to the main landing, again with no handrail.
First floor landing to Great Chamber
The Great Chamber is reached from the first floor landing via a wide door to the right. The Great Chamber has level wooden floor boards, large uncovered windows but limited electric light. This room has an open fire which is guarded and is lit occasionally.
The entrance to the Earl’s Apartments is through the Great Chamber via two sets of double doors with a single small wooden step down and a further small step down into the main room of the Earls Apartments. This room has an open fire which is lit occasionally and guarded. One of the first floor fire exits is at the far end of the Earl’s Apartments through a single wooden marked door. This leads to an external staircase with seven (7) stone steps and an unguarded drop, a half turn and seventeen (17) further stone steps leading back down into the lower courtyard. This is an emergency fire exit only and is lit with portable lighting during evening events.
First floor landing to Long Gallery
Access is from the landing up six (6) deep, level wooden semi-circular steps to the left. There is no handrail. This area is well lit with natural light from the landing window and electric light.
The Long Gallery
This room has level wooden floors and contains an open fire which is lit occasionally and guarded. It is lit by north and south facing windows and numerous electric wall sconces.
Long Gallery to Ante Chamber to the State Bedroom
From the Long Gallery to the Ante Chamber, there are two (2) steps up through a wide door. There is an additional small step up in to the State Bedroom which has a further two wooden steps up into a bay window.
There are double doors from the ante chamber leading to Dorothy’s steps (which is also a fire exit). There is a slight raised lip up and ten (10) stone steps, with balustrades on both sides, down to the terraced garden. These steps are lit with temporary lighting during evening events.
In total the garden has 114 steps from the top terrace down to the lowest terrace. Many of the garden terrace steps are of uneven sizes with tipped treads and risers. Some steps have adjacent balustrades or walls. Visitors are advised to use walls to assist them in negotiating their way around the gardens should this be necessary.
The garden is accessed either from Dorothy’s Steps on the first floor at the rear of the house or via the passage near the Parlour which is on the ground floor of the Hall. Dorothy’s Steps (with balustrades on each side and ten (10) stone steps) lead out onto the Bowling Green Terrace. The garden entrance from the passage near the Parlour leads out on to the Fountain Terrace down one deep step.
The 26 steps up from the Fountain Terrace to the Bowling Green Terrace have shallow rises of 120mm and treads of 300mm and balustrades on both sides.
The steps down to the lower terraces from the Fountain Terrace have a wall on the left as you go down. Just before the 90 degree turn to the left, the wall becomes very low – 500mm high.
The upper terrace and lower terraced gardens have sheer drops varying in height from 2.3 to 3.3
metres. All sheer drops are indicated with warning signs terraces have a planted border between the lawn and the drop except the Buttress Terrace. There are further stone steps up and down between the lower terraces, with no handrails.
Paths are gravelled or stone paved, and are uneven.
There are no lavatory facilities in the garden.
The Gardener’s Cottage sits at the end of the driveway adjacent to the stable block and restaurant. It is used for events and by the education team. Visitors need to be able to navigate the steep, deep gravelled area at the end of the drive and then one step down on to a stone path to the entrance.
The front door is large but it is not designed for wheelchair access nor are the two adjoining ground floor rooms within the cottage. These rooms have wood burning stoves which are protected by fireguards.
There are no separate toilet facilities in the cottage, the nearest being approximately 18 metres away on the ground floor of the stable block, underneath the restaurant.
Haddon Hall restaurant is situated above the stable block at the end of the driveway, approximately 366 metres from the car park. It is accessed by a set of 12 steep stairs with a handrail.
The restaurant has high chairs for young children. There are chairs and shade umbrellas on the gravelled area outside the restaurant during the summer months. Visitors who cannot manage the restaurant stairs can have their meals served on the outside tables (orders have to be placed within the restaurant.)
Menus are in large print but not currently available in braille. Staff will assist in describing the menu. Drinking straws are available for visitors to use.
The Mercatum Pop-up Gallery
Haddon Hall’s Mercatum Pop-up Gallery is situated under the gatehouse at the main entrance. It is a short walk across the A6 from the car park. The entrance is up one step without a handrail into a carpeted space with sufficient room for a pushchair but not a wheelchair. There is a rear door which leads visitors to a further outdoor area which may occasionally be used to display artisans’ work. The flooring here is wooden with raised displays and some larger items may be placed directly on the floor. Visitors exit into the gateway arch and should take care to be aware of passing vehicles.
This statement has been prepared in accordance with guidance from Historic England’s‘ Easy Access to Historic Landscapes’ and an access audit prepared by a Historic Houses H&S consultant.
Haddon Hall would wish its guided countryside walks to provide an inclusive environment for everyone, but given the nature of the walk it is regrettably not possible to give access to people with protected characteristics as there has to be a balance between providing access and conserving a landscape of historic significance.
The estate is in the process of being returned to its original parkland after being left relatively untouched over centuries. As such, the landscape is extremely important and its conservation a major priority. The walks are however a unique opportunity to explore the flora and fauna of this habitat with two knowledgeable guides without destroying its habitat. The walks usually take at least two hours with frequent stops to look at specific features. As identified in the audit, the route of the walk presents very significant access challenges in terms of the topography and features.
Given the rough terrain and distance covered, there are some barriers to access involved in the walk. The ground is very uneven with large ant hills to circumnavigate. There are no distinct paths and the walk involves climbing both up and down some slopes. There are marshy areas and areas with considerable ground cover. It is not possible to provide amenities, such as shelter, toilets or seating areas without causing irreparable damage to the environment. This is supported by surveys being carried out and a land management plan which indicate that there are very limited options for change.The decision has been taken to keep any intervention in the natural landscape to the minimum.
To ensure there is a clear understanding of the demands of the walk, visitor information and guidance is provided on our website. In brief, for the purposes of this statement, the route can be described as follows:
The circular walk begins in front of the Haddon restaurant and then follows a paved road for a short distance before following a rough track through fields, up slopes and then follows the grassy track above the line of the now disused railway line. It then continues downhill to reach a boggy area beside the River Wye. The walk ends after crossing more fields and ends up in front of the restaurant.
We recommend visitors wear suitable outdoor (waterproof) clothing and bring water with them. Some of the ground can be boggy so we advise visitors to wear appropriate footwear for hill walking and to bring a walking pole with them but we will also have some spare poles in case they are required. The guides carry first aid kits, spare water and sun cream.
Returning the estate to its original state also involves the presence of a large herd of free-roaming long horned cattle. Close liaison with the estate farmer allows the guides to steer well clear of them, but we feel we should warn of their presence. Guides are equipped with radios and can contact the Hall if necessary. Access has been planned for the emergency services in case of an incident.
As our visitors’ well-being is central to our ethos, we reserve the right to advise visitors not to join the walks if they are ill- equipped to do so. Particular attention has been paid to choosing the most accessible routes and having alternative routes depending on the weather. We will also cancel the walks in the case of extreme weather conditions.