There’s plenty of things to do in Manchester but sometimes you just need to get out of the city only you need to inspiration. Well, that’s where I come in. A native Mancunian, let me show you some of my favourite local haunts to get your adventure juices going.
Situated to the south of Manchester in the borough of Trafford but once part of the prestigious county of Cheshire lies Dunham Massey Park.
Now a national trust site, the name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon dun, meaning hill and from its former owner, the Massey family, who made this particular site their seat, or main house. Kind of like Buckingham Palace is the seat of the royal family.
The Masseys were lords of Dunham and its environs (including the manors of Baguley, Bowden, Hale, Partington and Timperley) until the 14th Century when the male line became extinct.
The Hall was donated to the National Trust in 1976 by Roger Grey, the 10th and last Earl of Stamford and has been looked after by it ever since.
A popular day out with locals from around the Greater Manchester area here are 5 reasons to take a stroll around this old Manor house and its grounds.
That’s right there is place outdoors that everyone can enjoy!
The grounds of Dunham Massey are pretty flat. The National Trust have done a really good job of creating clear paths throughout the grounds without taking away from the beauty of nature.
You can quite often see young families with prams/buggies walking the paths and older children riding their bikes and scooters – and later on mum and dad pushing them when said children get tired. I’ve even seen the occasional wheelchair user taking a (forgive me) roll around the grounds.
The Deer of Dunham Massey
It’s not just your typical stately home and grounds. No, Dunham Massey is home to its very own population of fallow deer that are free to roam the majority of the park.
In fact, the deer park is the only surviving medieval park in the surrounding area – pretty cool eh?
The deer have been roaming the grounds since the park walls were built way back in 1748. They are usually fairly easy to spot. If you’re lucky you won’t need to venture very far from the main house itself to spot them just chilling out.
The herd consists of all four colours of fallow deer. Common (tan with white spots, fading to grey in winter), Menil (tan but with white spots year round), melanistic (black or chocolate coloured) and white (a pale sandy colour, turning white with age).
While the deer have obviously grown used to being in close proximity to humans, the ranger at the trust are still keen to remind us all that they are still wild animals and getting too close to them can cause lots of problems for both you and the deer.
Dunham Massey Hall
For a few extra pennies you can have a wander around the 17th Century Hall. The Hall as you can see it today was built in 1616 by Sir George Booth. Remodelled several times over the years by its various owners, the hall, stables and carriage house are all Grade 1 listed buildings, 3 of 6 such buildings in the Trafford area.
The hall lies west of the village of Dunham. It is actually moated providing ample wetlands for many birds which occupy the area.
Akin to many stately homes up and down the country, Dunham Massey hall was used as a military hospital during World War 1. Named the Stamford Military Hospital, it hosted 182 injured soldiers between April 1917 to January 1919.
The house is known for its collection of over 1000 pieces Huguenot silver.
⅙ of the original plate remains at Dunham Massey. The rest was dispersed by the Countess of Stamford and Warrington. It also houses a great collection of paintings which can be seen in the various rooms of the house.
Once the place where the horses were housed, the stables of Dunham Massey are now home to something just as enticing – food and drink.
After you have taken a stroll around the park head upstairs to the stables. Here you can refuel in the cafe serving both hot and cold food and drink.
Alternatively, head to Dunham Massey’s very own Ice cream Parlour serving a range of super tasty ice cream.
It’s wide range of events
As a National Trust site, Dunham Massey plays host to a wide variety of different events throughout the year. From specific themed events centred around national holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Bonfire night to nature trails, den building and history tours of the hall there are events to cater to all ages, abilities and interests.
You can see the latest events here.
Until next time
In need of some more inspiration?
Try these other posts in the Manchester like a Local series;