Janet Reeder meets three people who help make Dunham so special

Great British Life: Emma Campagnaro, Property curator at Dunham Massey.Emma Campagnaro, Property curator at Dunham Massey.

Emma Campagnaro
Property curator, Dunham Massey, National Trust

'I feel very fortunate when I arrive at work and can admire the beautiful scenery'

My role as property curator allows me to connect with the history and spirit of this special place. Working closely with the collections team, we interpret and share the stories and history of those who lived and worked at Dunham Massey over the past 300 years. It’s a privilege to handle possessions and archival documents relating to numerous owners of Dunham Massey, particularly when they connect two important historic families: the Booths who were the Earls of Warrington, and the Greys – the Earls of Stamford.

The large quantity and variety of objects in the house brings the estate history to life – it’s an incredibly rich resource. Every year we rotate elements of the collection so rooms and spaces can be seen from a different perspective, illustrating how individuals lived through 300 years of history.

Many visitors know Dunham Massey for its 300-acre flat parkland in the centre of the estate, which are the perfect place for gentle walks. The tree-lined avenues radiate out from the Georgian mansion standing in the centre, which was built in the early 1700s. And of course, the highlight of a visit is a sighting of the fallow deer herd that roams freely within the park wall. Dunham Massey as a whole is actually a 3,000-acre estate includes 16 working farms, more than 100 tenanted properties, and it stretches all the way up through Partington.

I’m actively working to enhance opportunities for people to connect with cultural heritage in ways that are relevant to them, helping to bring local histories to life. In the past, Dunham Massey highlighted a significant moment in its history when the house supported injured soldiers during World War I as the Stamford Military Hospital. Many visitors connected with this experience.

New housing developments are increasing as Manchester continues to grow, and people are moving house more frequently. Dunham Massey is welcoming many more first-time visitors, which is brilliant, and we’re working with partners in our local communities to help them access green space across our estate. That’s one of the best things about Dunham Massey: its location on the outskirts of Manchester.

The Dunham Massey estate was gifted to the National Trust in 1976 by the last owner, the 10th Earl of Stamford, Roger Grey. His parents were actively involved with the founders of the National Trust, and Roger was equally passionate about protecting Dunham Massey to ensure he left it to the nation intact, for everyone to enjoy. It is humbling to fulfil part of his legacy by sharing the wonders of this place, and the property team is thrilled when visitors are interested to learn more about it.

I think it is fair to say most people living in the immediate area are aware of Dunham Massey. Its history can be felt around Altrincham itself, most visibly through road names reflecting the long-reaching family history connected to Tudor England.

I feel very fortunate when I arrive at work and can admire the beautiful scenery, especially at the beginning and the end of the day when it is quietest. You get some lovely moments. Dunham Massey is certainly a very beautiful place to live.

Great British Life: Adam and Laura Wroe of Matchington Farm Livery Stables with Peronne The Navigator. Adam and Laura Wroe of Matchington Farm Livery Stables with Peronne The Navigator.

Laura Wroe
Owner, Matchington Farm Livery Stables

'Being here is very peaceful. A lot of people pick up on that; it’s a special place.'

I have lived in Dunham for 34 years. My parents, Jo and Thomas Corneill, own Matchington Farm and about seven years ago we got planning permission to turn one of the barns into a home. It’s very nice having my parents so close by the help out with the babysitting.

My husband Adam and I have two children: Eva, who is 11 and Mia, who is six. They both love their riding and are lucky enough to have quite a few ponies between them.

I met Adam 14 years ago and together we saw a gap in the market for 3½-tonne horse boxes. Hunter Horse Boxes is his and it is probably one of the leading 3½-tonne horse box companies in the UK now. We’ve got horse boxes that go to Australia to Holland... everywhere.

We build them from scratch, as you would in a coach-building company. Adam’s original trade was joinery, and it was about coming together and finding the best way to build the strongest, safest 3½-tonne horse boxes. Basically, we’ve made Dunham a centre for horse boxes in the UK.

My dad rents the yard to me for the stables and we have 25 horses, which is probably on the smaller side compared to most of the yards around here but we like to keep it this way so we can focus on horse care.

We have lots of different horses including stallions, dressage and show jumping and I’ve got my own show ponies, so lots of different varieties, and we have a lot of full livery horses. That means if someone wants to come down and ride everything else is done for them.

Being here is very peaceful. A lot of people pick up on that; it’s a special place.

Dunham is a small community but it’s a very close community; everyone helps each other out and if you have a problem, you can put it on the WhatsApp group and somebody will respond.

We’ve got the National Trust property Dunham Massey and now we have other things such as the Dunham Apple Barn and orchards, which sell cider and pizzas and is right next door to us. My kids wander over to the back of our fields in the summer and get themselves a pizza at lunchtime. The Apple Barn is quite a community hub and brings in visitors.

It’s a great place; you’re close to Hale and Altrincham and even the Trafford Centre. So, you’re in the middle of everything but far enough out to have quiet and peacefulness. When people come here to live they tend to stay here. I can’t imagine living anywhere else to be honest.

Great British Life: Michael Khalsa, centre with the Rope and Anchor team: Kerry Maloney, Aron, Emma and EllaMichael Khalsa, centre with the Rope and Anchor team: Kerry Maloney, Aron, Emma and Ella

Michael Khalsa
General manager, The Rope and Anchor pub

'The village is the star of the show. It’s a lovely place and we’ve got some really nice people living here'

I live on the site of the pub with my partner Kerry Maloney and my two children for 10 months. Before that I lived in Heald Green and was working in Bramhall. The Rope and Anchor is part of J.W. Lees, the family-owned brewery based in Middleton, Manchester, which has been going since 1828. The group has 42 inns including the Rope and Anchor and around 100 tenanted properties as well as the brewing house.

This building used to be a house years ago. We are quite close to the Pennine Trail, which, back in the 1800s used to be a train track.

It’s amazing living here. The neighbours are very welcoming, and the locals are very chatty and want you to be part of the community, so it’s very much inclusive. On New Year’s Eve we had a locals party with about 40 guests and it was the best night.

I went to visit most of our neighbours when I first arrived as we’d had a refurb and I wanted to say hello and invite them back into the pub. We like to feel we are part of the community.

As well as locals we get a lot of walkers and cyclists, especially on Saturday and Sunday.

As it’s about 50 minutes’ walk to Lymm and 45 mins walk to Altrincham we have customers walking here from both places. Dunham Massey is a great attraction for visitors, getting get guests from all over the world; I go there with the children. The Dunham light show, which is on from the end of November until the start of January 4 brings a lot of people but there are activities throughout the year. We have the rose queen event and the village hall hosts events too. My children are aged four and seven and it’s a fantastic place to bring them up. We can go for a walk and explore – they call the land at the bottom of where we live the jungle.

There isn’t a school in Dunham, so they go to one in Sale, which is fantastic and only 10 minutes’ drive and we also have the Apple Barn and Dunham Massey Farm Ice Cream down the road.

The village is the star of the show. It’s a lovely place and we’ve got some really nice people living here. There are different types of properties from houses that can be rented quite cheaply to massive properties with lots of acreage. So, you get people from all kinds of income brackets and all different kinds of backgrounds. There are those who have lived here 30 years and say ‘I’m not quite local just yet’ and other families that have been here for generations. It’s just a super place to be.