Dogs and their owners are being encouraged to explore the top National Trust places for dog days out, with the arrival of the new Pooch Passport.
Launched in partnership with natural pet food maker Forthglade, the Pooch Passport has been unveiled exclusively at 29 National Trust places across London and the South East, including Mottisfont, Hinton Ampner, The Vyne, and Uppark in and around Hampshire.
The 29 places have been specially selected because they have been awarded a two pawprint or three pawprint rating, which means that they provide good or very good facilities for visiting dogs. This may include dog-washing areas, drinking stations, dog zones in cafés, waste bins and downloadable walks for dog walkers. Pawprint ratings can be found on property web pages and in the National Trust Handbook.
From 1 September 2023 to 29 February 2024 dogs who enjoy walks at participating properties can have their Pooch Passports stamped. Once they have collected unique stamps from six different places they’ll receive a special Forthglade treat.
National Trust Dogs Welcome Project Manager Ceinwen Paynton: “We’re delighted to be able to say ‘thank you’ to our dog-loving supporters in London and the South East with our Pooch Passport, developed in partnership with Forthglade. We know how much it means to people to be able to bring their dogs when they visit our places and not leave them home alone. Our paw print rating makes it easy to plan a visit with your dog, and the Pooch Passport provides the perfect reason to explore new places with them.
“However, we’re also aware that not everyone loves dogs. Our Pooch Passport includes Canine Code tips to help dogs and their owners behave responsibly and courteously, and the access information provided by the pawprint rating will be of help to all our visitors.”
Romsey resident Walter, a wire-haired dachshund, and his owner Pam Smith were two of the first to snap up a Pooch Passport, at their local National Trust place, Mottisfont: "As a relatively new dog owner I've discovered that Mottisfont’s ideal for exercising and playing with my young dachshund Walter. We feel very welcome there; there’s loads of dog-friendly space to roam in - on the lead of course – water bowls, and cafe access for when I want a drink or we need to shelter from the rain. The Pooch Passport is a great idea and it'll definitely get us exploring further afield!”
Two other canines who picked up their Pooch Passports over the weekend are members of the Mottisfont team, Taito and Duck. They popped in with their owner, Mottisfont Business Services Coordinator Ellen Turner: “This is actually Duck’s first visit as she’s still quite young at seven months, but now we have our Passports the three of us will be exploring further afield. It’s a great way for Duck to develop her socialising skills with dogs and people as well as having plenty of fun.”
What’s on offer at places in and around Hampshire?
At Mottisfont, nr Romsey
As well as water bowl stations and waste bins, dogs can access the Coach House café
in the stableyard. They can play in the paddock area, stroll along the river to fields behind the house, or go further afield on the six mile estate walk. Check out the map at Visitor Reception to discover the routes. In the shop there’s a good stock of treats, toys and accessories. Three pawprint rating
At Hinton Ampner, nr Cheriton
As well as water bowl stations and waste bins, dogs are welcome in the covered seating area next to the café, and there are dog treats and toys for sale in the nearby shop. They can explore all of the garden and the three estate walks – check out the board map close to the church for walking routes. Two pawprint rating
At The Vyne, nr Basingstoke
As well as water bowl stations and waste bins, dogs can access the downstairs café where there’s dog ice cream on offer as well as at the kiosk. The shop (close to the café) sells dog treats. Walks-wise, the garden and wider estate including the woodlands are all available to explore. The only ‘no go’ area is the children’s natural play area. Two pawprint rating
At Uppark, nr Petersfield
As well as water bowl stations and waste bins, dogs are welcome in the spacious secondhand book shop where there is some café seating (the café is close by). Dog ice cream is available. The gardens, woodland and meadow area are all open for dogs to explore – take a look at the board maps outside Visitor Reception. Two pawprint rating
 List of participating places plus terms and conditions: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/dog-friendly/pooch-passport-terms-and-conditions.
 The pawprint rating system
Best: Three pawprints
Three pawprints shows the very best places you can visit for a day with your dog. You’ll be able to take your dog to most areas, including indoors for a cup of tea and a treat. There’ll be clearly signed dog zones and dog-friendly experiences.
Good: Two pawprints
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.
Standard: One pawprint
Dogs are welcome here, but facilities are limited. They’ll be able to stretch their legs in the car park and walk in the nearby open spaces, depending on the season.
Image: Mottisfont National Trust, photo credit: Walter Smith