Dunham Massey is definitely the most visited place by the Family Hughes this summer. Having purchased our family-friendly National Trust membership just before I dropped, this pram-friendly park is now a much-loved favourite because it’s only about 25 minutes from our house in South Manchester.
With wide gravel paths, this gorgeous 300-acre deer park is just the right size for a stroll before you’re ready for an ice cream. The deer are really used to visitors so happily graze right near the paths, and you can get a real close up view.
I also saw a sign for night walks called Dunham After Dark, where you go on a guided tour at night time to see bats, owls and other nocturnal animals. I thought this sounded amazing.
However, I must admit that it’s not just Dunham Massey, nor the Cheshire Farm ice cream that’s the favourite part of the daytrip.
It’s Little Heath Farm Shop which we discovered tucked away behind the Axe and Cleaver pub (also well worth a visit). Run by an incredibly friendly family, they sell their own Aberdeen Angus and Hereford Beef, which is all reared on their farm “at nature’s pace”, as they put it.
Every time we go out for a stroll, we stop off here and buy enough to fill our freezer for the next month. The beef has a beautifully deep mature flavour and is really good value compared to some farmers markets.
Yesterday, we had a beef brisket simmering in its own juices in our well-used slow cooker, which after a good eight hours, had a mouthwateringly tender texture that just flaked apart at the sight of a fork.
Our other faves include the mince, which stays lovely and firm when cooked, unlike the sludgy stuff you buy from supermarkets.
The shop also sells free-range pork, sausages, gammon, lamb, and when in season, Dunham Massey venison. The fruit and veg is all good quality local produce, and sourced from local farms if they don’t grow it themselves.
This is a genuine farm shop that sells proper farm-grown food, unlike many of the so-called farm shops across Cheshire, which bizarrely stock pineapples and peaches and other stuff that’s clearly not grown in the UK, nevermind nearby.