A while back¹, I found myself with a free day to spend around Manchester. Having spent enough time in the city itself — and always looking for new, interesting places to walk — I decided to take advantage of my National Trust membership to visit Dunham Massey, an 18th century house with a medieval deer park.
I arrived at the site early in the morning, when only the deer park was open. I’d scouted ahead and discovered that the grounds are teeming with geocaches, as well as a variety of very old trees, so I’d planned to spend most of the day strolling, exploring, and hunting for caches.
As I rounded the corner and stood in front of Dunham Massey Hall, I came upon a small group of deer simply enjoying the morning. They weren’t phased by me or the other morning walkers and joggers going past.
I wandered along a grassy trail toward Lanham Obelisk, stopping at Old Man Pool to appreciate the warm sun, gentle breeze, and bird songs all around me.
At the obelisk I turned into the woods and walked along a railing that demarcated the deer sanctuary — an area of the park that’s off limits to visitors, so the deer have a space to themselves where they are undisturbed. As I walked, I looked ahead and noticed a deer standing on my side of the railing, right in my path. I stopped to watch it graze and then, not wanting to disturb it, I stepped into the trees and walked a semicircle around it to continue on.
Around the middle of the park is a brick building called the Slaughterhouse, although it was actually used as a larder (back when the deer in the park were for hunting and eating). The deer now have no fear and while standing outside the slaughterhouse I saw a herd of them wandering the open space nearby.
From there, I walked to the back edge of the park and around until I reached the Deer House. I spent quite a bit of time walking around it, watching (from a distance) the many deer clustered in groups or wandering about on all sides of the building.
I finally rejoined a main path and walked back up toward Dunham Massey Hall, but I didn’t go inside yet. Instead, I took a stroll through the gardens to see what was in bloom.
Finally I went into the house itself, Dunham Massey Hall. I didn’t take any pictures — it generally felt to me like any large, stately home, and besides it wasn’t really the driving force behind my visit — and soon I found myself outside again. I said goodbye to the deer on the lawn and made my way out.
1. I was looking back through my photos and found so many from the past couple years that I haven’t ever shared. This is an attempt to dive into my archives and catch up a bit. 🙂 ↩