Dunham Massey

Hello again people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here reporting on a short hike around Dunham Massey. We had a few hours to spare and so instead of a walk in the park or around our local streets we jumped into the car and drove to a nearby stately home. Dunham Massey Hall, a National Trust property, stands within extensive parkland and is one of the most popular visitor attractions owned by the trust. This isn’t strictly a Cheshire walk anymore as it falls within the relatively new boundaries of Trafford, near to Altrincham.

White Cottage, Little Bollington
Swan with Two Nicks

We parked in the nearby village of Little Bollington, at the triangle along from the Swan with Two Nicks pub, that takes its name from the practice of marking a swan’s beak to denote ownership. After crossing the footbridge over the River Bollin, by Crump Weir, we passed the Bollington Mill that is now an apartment complex. The lane that led to the Dunham Massey estate was an obstacle course as we walked through the deep puddles. My dad complained as the water filled his hiking shoes. I didn’t complain at all because, as you are aware, Cockers are water babies! The fields either side of the path that are usually filled with grazing cattle were filled with water. Lots of water.

Crump Weir
River Bollin footbridge
That’s some puddle!

After negotiating the flooded track we climbed a ladder stile as we entered the Dunham Massey estate. As the parkland is inhabited by fallow deer I wasn’t allowed to run off-lead. We passed the 17th century watermill on our left that originally ground corn but was converted in 1860 to a sawmill. The waterwheel is still used to drive saws and lathes to this date and can be seen in operation.

Dunham Massey Mill
The main house

The main house was built by the Earls of Warrington in the 17th century and later passed to the Earls of Stamford until in 1976 it was gifted to the National Trust. During WWII the house was used as a military hospital and was known as the Stamford Military Hospital. Along with the Stables and Carriage House the buildings are Grade 1 listed. The interior of the buildings are not surprisingly dog-friendly.

Spot the ‘Heron’
Fallow deer herd

I am not allowed in the formal gardens so we went for a long walk around the deer park. We passed by the lime tree avenue and large lawns as we left the house behind us. The 150 plus herd of fallow deer roam the 200 acre walled parkland. We found them grazing by a small lake but kept our distance so that we did not disturb them. My dad did not want a ‘Fenton!’ moment. Geese and other waterfowl swam and strolled around the lake. We spotted a ‘Heron’ on the far side of the lake. Some of the trees that inhabit the parkland reputedly date back as far as the 17th century.

Stables, Carriage House and mansion

We walked along every track within the grounds until we passed by the mill again as we walked back towards the car. My dad had another moan as we paddled along the lane to Little Bollington. The next few days could dramatically affect this area again as there is another named storm on its way. Fingers crossed that not too much damage and disruption is caused. Till next time!

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