Gardening Magazine

Dunham Massey

By Mwillis
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?

Dunham Massey

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:
Dunham Massey

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:
Dunham Massey

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!
Dunham Massey

Dunham Massey

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).
Dunham Massey

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

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

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

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.

Dunham Massey

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

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.
Dunham Massey

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

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.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

Magazines