After you have already completed your step goal for the day, explored your city, had your breakfast and are dressed and ready for the day with it being only 10:30 am, you know you have the chance to explore some more.
After our first (or many, I hope!) Saturday morning wanders to town, we set about planning the rest of the day. With the weather being so unpredictable at the moment and having set off in the rain and returned in the heat, we needed to find something that would offer some activity, some adventure and importantly some shelter should it rain again. Which was when the National Trust popped to mind. We didn’t fancy the Foodie festival at Tatton Park in the rain (plus, we did the house and garden there last week) I suddenly remembered Rufford Old Hall. We haven’t visited there together and it is within an hour from our house by car, so would give us plenty of time for exploring and playing.
After quickly rustling up some houmous for sandwiches and as dip, grabbing some crisps, an energy bar and our precious flask of tea we headed out the door for our adventure (unfortunately forgetting both the binoculars and the National Trust Passport in our excitement).
We arrived to sunshine and a warm welcome to the car park. Gathered together our bits and pieces in the rucksack and off to the house we went.
Unfortunately, you can’t take any pictures inside the Rufford Old Hall house (due to many of the paintings being on loan from private collectors) and me omitting to really take any in the hall, there is not much about the inside to share with you! I would however, recommend that you do take a visit. The property is fairly small in comparison to many of the others in the region, but it is seeped in history and the volunteers share some great insights and knowledge (more than you could get from an information sheet – including the fact that the display cakes are real, only they have been blasted in a microwave until they are dehydrated – factoid of the day!)
Unfortunately as we were going into the house, a coach load of people arrived too which made it slightly more difficult to explore in the way we like to – taking in the detail, reading the information and chatting with the volunteers, so we had to skip some bits. Gives us an excuse to come back sooner too – that and to get our passport stamped too!
The gardens were very well laid out with a short and accessible walk around them. It was simple but nice and we had fun checking it out – especially this little fella!
There are also some picnic benches within the garden for you to rest up and enjoy a cuppa. I do love it when there are picnic areas for the likes of us!
We enjoyed our ramble about Rufford and will certainly be back. It was really cute to leave and see some birds over the wall. One thing I always advise is looking up, looking around and looking everywhere around you so that you can discover something new! Check out these cheeky chappies!
There is more than enough to do around Rufford even though the National Trust site is small-ish While were there and getting our brew fix, I found that there are LOADS of other walking routes to explore and we did spot the canal which of course will lead to all manner of exciting places. I’m definitely going to get adding them to the bucket list!
As we still had plenty of time and had seen all that we could with the number of visitors about, we decided to head the short journey to Mere Sands Woods Nature Reserve, just as a bit of a reccy really for other visits to the area.
For a mere (if you pardon the pun!) £2 you can park all day, which is excellent and the funds go towards helping with the conservation and running of the reserve. Ooh and no worries if you don’t have the cash on you either. Like Brockholes, you can pay online within 24 (I think) hours by using the online payment method – ace!
So anyway, I digress. We stopped by for a quick explore and fond that they have a few light walks around the reserve and my Google found a couple further afield that we’ll be looking at on our next trip. We still managed to get 3 miles in so that is not bad if you’re looking for something quick and easy for an afternoon stroll.
My tips from our first visit is that you MUST go inside the hides to escape the world and get the best vies of the reservoir! Bring your binoculars and spend some time just enjoying the silence and nature at its best. I would love to just work from the hide as it feels so comfortable and wonderful hearing only the birds calling and the wind rustling the leaves!
Even the views from around the park were gorgeous and definitely tempted me to explore more. We have already planned our visit to include Rufford Old Hall and the reserve – plus some of the walks around the outside too.
I now can’t wait for the weekend again so that I can get us up nice and early for a morning wander and then out somewhere else for what I like to call a ‘day holiday’ – I’ll tell you more about these in the blog, I’m sure! I’m notorious for them!
Until next time, keep on walking!