Training for the Highlands – Wandering Around Cheshire’s Dunham Massey Deer Park

It’s been difficult getting regular walks in this year as I’m making fortnightly trips down to my parents in Manchester. Ages ago I booked a week in the Highlands and that week draws near, so I managed to nip across to Dunham Park for 2 brisk walks to get some exercise & relive my childhood. I used to cycle here as a kid so it has many happy memories, jumpers for goalposts etc. On Saturday I managed to add a pub diversion across the river Bollin too, I don’t remember that as a kid.

  • Distance    =  4.1 miles (6.5 km)
  • Duration      =   1 hrs 24 mins
  • Total Ascent   =   Only 200ft 🙂
  • Start/Finish      =   As close to Smithy Pool as possible as it’s free
  • Date                      =   Saturday & Sunday 5th & 6th July, sunny
  • Click on the Route Map below to zoom in/out
Dunham Park Route

Dunham Park Route  – covers much of the park except the Gardens

Dunham Park is situated near the wealthy stockbroker/mega-rich footballer belt of south Manchester/north Cheshire.

Starting Point; I found a space where Charcoal Rd turns right where it joins Smithy Rd. Anywhere round here will do to accees the stile by Smithy Pool. If you’re a National Trust member then park at the main car park further on, there’s bags of room and has the impressive addition of a large brand new visitor centre. My aim was to walk as fast as possible around the park, though some areas are closed to the public giving the deer some privacy. There are lots of Fallow deer here, how many exactly I’ve no ideer. Pity I didn’t have time to visit the gardens as these are well worth a stroll around in the summer. Dunham is on the flightpath for Manchester airport so there’s a fair bit of aerial activity which I actually quite liked.

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Oh deer

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Magnificent tree, it’s been around a while

Quote from Wikipedia “Dunham Park covers an area of 192.7 acres (780,000 m2) and is part of the Dunham Park Estate, run by the National Trust (grid reference SJ740870). The park is mostly “pasture-woodland or park-woodland” and has been since the Middle Ages. Many of the oak trees, which make up the larger part of the woodland, date back to the 17th century. Dunham Park is the only place in the northwest of England with such a concentration of old trees, and one of only a few remaining in England, making it a site of national importance. The park supports a range of animals, including fallow deer and over 500 species of insect.” Think I met a few of the latter – actually many of them are beetles.

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Split tree

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The Pump House

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Inside the Pump House

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Water Wheel

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Dunham Massey Hall

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Clock Tower

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The moat & Stables Restaurant

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Roof needs some attention

During the 1st World War Dunham Massey Hall was used as a militay hospital, there’s a wartime theme and exhibitions to celebrate the centenary.

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War time theme 🙂

A short diversion can be made to the Swan With Two Nicks from the west entrance on a straight path across an entertainingly narrow footbridge over the River Bollin.

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Diversion to the Swan With Two Nicks, Little Bollington – beer!

I returned for a walk around the new visitor centre complete with the usual National Trust gift shop & eatery. Very airy and roomy, didn’t realise this was going to be so large but Dunham’s a busy place.

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Part of the brand new Visitor Centre

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Hall & Gardens over the lake

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Lake & House

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Old tree & Clock Tower

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Some characterful trees here

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The House and deer

Enjoyed revisiting Dunham, at 15 mins drive from my parents & where I was born, this may become a regular exercise opportunity. Must rejoin the Nat Trust at some point to get back into the gardens too. Total of 8 miles & 400ft of ascent for the two days, that won’t get me ready for the big mountains, just the best I can do in the limited time 😉


Hillwalker with dodgy knees and dodgier sense of humour. Lover of the outdoors, Lakes, Highlands, Cheviots, nature, good food, real ale and leaf tea.
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4 Responses to Training for the Highlands – Wandering Around Cheshire’s Dunham Massey Deer Park

  1. Interesting set of pictures – familiar territory – I was born at Navigation Road and raised around Hale and Altrincham. Dunham Park was a regular cycle ride. Thanks for the memories 🙂
    BTW – stayed at the B&B next door to the Swan with Two Nicks on a couple of occasions when heading south – recommend it.

    • Thanks, I pass Navigation Rd on the A56 regularly & remember the train station well as we didnt have a car till I was 20. Have always thought that B&B looked nice, decent pub & beer too. Don’t think Dunham’s changed much apart from the Visitor Centre.

  2. Andrew Purser says:

    Great pictures. Regarding your photo with the caption “Roof needs some attention”, on a guided tour of the park, we learned that the roof was built using a tree trunk. The line of the roof follows the shape of the trunk and has been that shape since it was built. The tour is very interesting if you ever get a chance to do it.

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