If you have visited Dunham Massey, you will know how lovely it is around there. However, what you might not know is how nice it is outside of the grounds of the National Trust property. If you are yet to visit, I urge you to make the time to explore outside too.
Villages and canals
The most common way to get to Dunham Massey is from the M56. Not the most scenic of routes and could make you focus only in the destination. But, you would be surprised at what there is around there. Even with a main transport link to Manchester and the surrounding are, there are still plenty of scenic villages around.
To be totally honest with you, since they opened the new bypass we get lost every time we go to Dunham or Tatton. And I mean every time! I think it is actually quite beneficial and maybe partly purposeful now a we have explored beautiful country lanes that we didn’t know existed. Like a mini road trip every time we travel the fourteen miles to get there.
Through and out
To get to the outside of the park, we go through the visitor centre (making sure we grab our garden tickers while we pass by) and out towards the old water-mill. Over the style and onto the path. It is definitely worth getting tickets to see the gardens, especially at this time of year – I’ll show you why later in my post. It is simply stunning!
Anyway, once out of the park, you have views across the local farm land. This land is also owned by the Trust and they rehomed some of the sheep here when there were the terrible floods up in Cumbria the other year. (Factoid!)
Even though you are just over the wall of the grounds, you instantly feel like you’re away from the crowds. Fewer people and a slower pace.
Despite my map telling me there was a footpath, one there it seemed there wasn’t. So we back stepped out way to head into Dunham Village and make our way towards the Bridgewater Canal. No day out is quite complete without a canal, is it?
With the weather so beautiful, it really allowed for us to slow down and enjoy every little bit of spring coming into bud. I, obviously, managed to get down to snap some pictures of the flowers.
Onto the canal
After a brief detour through some villages and onto the path of some private mooring, we made our way over a bridge and onto the towpath. I find it regularly surprising (considering the amount of canals we walk on) how different they all are. We also met a brilliant collie who wanted to play with me and a square of wood. We later discovered that she lived on a boat with one of the best names ever, “Soddum Hall”!
There is definitely a big difference between the urban and rural canals – not least in the fact that there are less mills and industrial units. The paths are mainly laid to grass, the edges hedgerow rather than little and the water is much less murky. Not that I don’t love my urban canals, just that it makes a welcome change.
The one thing that I did notice though, was how people were less likely ‘hello’ on passing. An unusual thing that we have noticed further south of the city. Perhaps we look like crazy east/north Manchester people they’ve been warned not to make eye contact with – or it could be my crazy massive grin as we approach their dogs? 😉
Flowers and more flowers
It seems as though spring just happened over night! One minute the trees are bare and canal sides barren, the next there are explosions of flowers, green trees and reeds popping up from the water. I don’t remember the change being so speedy last year.
Our way back from the canal towpath to Dunham Massey was liberally spattered with the sound of bees enjoying the abundance of flowers. The birds tweeting over head and the sun giving everything that nice spring glow.
Spring in the gardens
As I mentioned earlier in the post, we always make sure to have enough time to explore the Dunham Massey gardens. I don’t think I ha ever been disappointed with a visit there and spring is possibly one of my favourites as the Rhododendrons are blooming marvellous! (pun intended)
Every turn is a feast to the eyes of colour, texture and the movement of the dappled shade. Cliche as it might be, spring really does bring everything to life. As does a drop of sunshine added to the mix.
A drop of sunshine
After the long winter and wet beginning to spring, it was such a lovely feeling to see the sunshine beaming through the trees. Everything had that bit of an extra glow and the colours of the flowers and buildings popped. The still water on the lake provided the most magical of reflections to boost the colours even more! (there was definitely no need for filters at all!)
Even the hall had a special look to it too. A usually stunning building, especially from the garden side, it was just that bit brighter and stood out from the plants and flowers. Although I am a fan of all types of weather, I am quite glad for some warm sunshine for a change. Being able to wander in a t-shirt rather than all my layers made it extra fun. That little hint that warmer, longer days are on the horizon.
Although we would have loved to have stayed longer, the garden was shutting for the day and we had to make our way back home. It had been a while since we last visited Dunham Massey, and that visit formed a firm reminder that we should head back sooner. There are still plenty of miles along the canal to be explored, villages and country roads to discover and plants to enjoy.
Dunham Massey is a fantastic place to visit, but I think that you should definitely explore around there too. There is way more to the area than meets the eye.
I do think that we often get hooked up on heading to new places. Dreaming of new experiences. Forgetting about those that naturally evolve that are closer to home. I think we should all remember to check out those places we love. The ones we think we know too well. And take the time to get to know them again. Like anything and anywhere, there is always more to be discovered. It’s a bit world!
Now to plan my next local adventure…
Have you visited Dunham Massey and the surrounding area? Where do you need to revisit?
Let me know in the comments below.