Childhood visits to my mother’s family home and later to my aunt Eileen’s were never complete without a visit to Dunham Massey. I have clear memories of loving seeing the deer, and also of being disappointed when we visited but didn’t see them. Last night we moored up about as close as we could to the main entrance to the park, so this morning we headed along the road.
Since my childhood visits the estate has been bequeathed to the National Trust. There was a long queue to get in to the car park, and only a muddy path with confusing signage for visitors on foot. We found our way in nevertheless. The park was very much as I remembered, a large expanse of planted trees with long straight drives running through them. Eventually we spotted one deer, and then all of a sudden realised there were dozens!
It soon became obvious that this was not going to be a day to be disappointed. We were able to get quite close to groups of deer who mostly ignored the visitors. There was a lot of bird life too, including a jay and several noisy parakeets.
We came back to the boat via Dunham Town, a pretty little village also now owned by the National Trust.
While at this mooring we had been disquieted by a grating noise whenever the boat moved. Some work with the pole had led me to believe that the stone that lines the canal edge was further out just below the waterline than above it. This meant that our fenders were not doing their job. So in the late afternoon we went for a reconnaissance walk along the canal before returning through the hamlet of Little Bollington. We had spied a mooring spot, complete with rings, so just before sunset we moved there. The grating noise now seems to have stopped.