Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Dunham Massey

As many of you will know, Jane and I recently went on holiday to the Lake District with some of our family. Being in Cumbria, the lakes are a long way from home for us and we decided to break the journey with an overnight stay in a B and B not far from Altrincham in Cheshire. The place we chose was one affiliated with the National Trust, which has very high standards, and it certainly lived up to our expectations. "Conveniently situated" hardly does it justice - just a few miles from the M6 (our route up North) and sandwiched between a pub on one side and a tearoom on the other. What more could you want?

We had the upstairs room with the two little windows surrounded by creeper.
This place was really peaceful - quiet and comfortable - and gave us what is probably the best Full English Breakfast you could ever get, including some absolutely outstanding bacon. We timed our arrival so that we would have time to see some of the local area and were able to spend a couple of hours at nearby Dunham Massey, a big National Trust property. Since we are members of the NT we were able to get free admission.  This is the house:

At present, the interior of the house is set up to recreate a World War One military hospital, which we would love to have seen, but unfortunately it isn't open on Fridays - the day we were there. However, there were lots of other things to see, such as the herd of Fallow deer which roams the park:

There were also two small patches set up to represent the vegetable gardens maintained by patients in the military hospital during WWI. Obviously I inspected these very closely!

In the gardens we saw many other impressive plants, shrubs and trees. Look at the fabulous copper-coloured bark on this lovely specimen. I think it is a Tibetan Cherry (Prunus Serrula).

I am currently very much "On" perennial borders, so this one with a lovely winding path attracted my attention:

I also loved the flowing lines of this clump of grass beside the path:

Here's another beauty - a lovely fern with a greenish-purple hue. Was it perhaps the Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium Niponicum)?

It was a good time of year for fungi-spotting too. This is a "Dog Vomit Slime Mould" (Fuligo septica), sometimes called the Scrambled Egg fungus.

I'm not sure what type of fungus this is, but it looks a bit like a puffball of some sort.

The surroundings at Dunham Massey were very mellow and calm; a place with a powerful sense of history, but also a fun place for the whole family to enjoy.

However, I wasn't sure what to make of this alleged "sculpture". I looks to me like just a pile of breeze-blocks!

Later I will write about our time in the Lakes, but let me end this post by saying that Dunham Massey appears to me to represent the best of what the National Trust has to offer. A property with loads of different things to see - the house, the gardens, the deer-park - even the tea-room and gift-shop were a cut above the average. Special displays and exhibitions like the WWI military hospital are also a common feature of NT properties. Annual membership of the NT is in my opinion definitely a very worthwhile investment.


  1. A lovely spot to stopover. Yes, to the Japanese painted fern. I have several. Have the dog vomit too lately.

  2. We get a lot of slime molds in my garden every year. They are such strange things as they are mobile.

  3. I'm glad you obviously had a great time on your holiday. Dunham Massey looks wonderful. I really like that overflowing border - that's exactly what I would like in my garden. I'm not much of a fan of "abstract" sculptures like those blocks. I just don't get it, I guess.

  4. I'm glad you all had a lovely break I'm hoping for a birthday trip to Dunham Massey next month so fingers crossed. 'Dog vomit' fungus I never realised there was such a thing!

  5. I guess a sculpture like that is making some sort of statement, but I can't say that I would like to have one in my garden. On the other hand, I've got a few piles of stuff that I could claim are sculpture, if only I could get some flowers to bloom around them... 😀

    Looking forward to seeing some pics from the Lake District. My husband and I spent some time there 20+ years ago and I remember it fondly. I would love to get back. We loved the Grasmere Gingerbread.

  6. Welcome back Mark,
    We are members of the National Trust and can't praise them enough. There are masses of places to visit up in this neck of the woods that are on my list to visit.
    I've never been to Dunham Massey although I've visited the Lake District many times. It certainly looks beautiful and maybe next time we're on our way down to family we should stop off to have a look for ourselves.
    We have Roe deer here (in fact I saw two this morning) but I'd love some of those Fallow deer wandering around.
    I think I might have that tree in my garden and I've often wondered what it was. The only difference is the bark is peeling back. It has a smallish oak tree type of leaf.
    Anyway... thanks for sharing. I look forward to seeing your Lake posts.
    I suppose you'll be playing catch up like myself after being away. I wish weeds would go on holiday too ;D

  7. Looks like a lovely place to visit. And it sure looks like a Painted Fern to me too.

  8. Modern sculpture is such a cop out, what is wrong with making something pleasing to the eye? I bet this one won't make it's "statement" into the next decade. As a tertiary art lecturer...this type of "Art" makes me cringe. Beautiful gardens...picture perfect deer. I have a fungus appear occasionally that looks like sheep's wool all over the paddock, white frothy weird stuff

  9. Such a beautiful place. I particularly loved the pathway. looking forward to your post about the Lakes...


Thank you for taking time to leave me a comment! Please note that Comment Moderation is enabled for older posts.