A visit to Dunham Massey
Dunham Massey, our experience.
We were given the opportunity to visit Dunham Massey on 14/5/17 and we wanted to share our experience with you.
On arrival the site was very busy. A NT member of staff greeted us and showed us where to park. A car park of £6.00 for the day was payable. We were approached by another NT member of staff to discuss NT membership, benefits and told we could pay via direct debit. We preferred to wait and discuss this further with other family members.
Meeting the reception staff
We continued on to the visitor centre and noted wheelchair and electric chair users were in the queue waiting to purchase entry tickets. Seating was available and noted the visitor centre was accessible and plenty of room. Staff were friendly and welcoming. The staff acknowledged that it was difficult for every disabled person who visits Dunham Massey independently to access all the areas open to the public. We were told that they distribute very little printed material but, on request, are happy to provide large print versions to visitors. They do not currently distribute any literature in languages other than English.
As yet the site do not have an accessible changing space, however have started preparatory work on such a facility in the Visitor Centre and hope to have this available in the summer. It will comprise an adjustable height changing bed (with shower), a track hoist, wash/dry toilet and hand washing sink. The facility will be accessed with a RADAR key to ensure that it is available for those who require it.
We found that a shuttle buggy operated between the Visitor Centre (disabled car park) and the House, Garden and Park. Although the majority of the Garden and Park paths are wide, level and smooth, these have not yet been mapped out and was informed this is another part of a current project that there are currently working on, and would hope to have something in place by the end of the current year. We did note some of the paths around the Visitor Centre are steeper and one wheelchair user was struggling, we mentioned this a NT member who stated the trust is considering improvements to address this issue.
We continued through double iron gates which are in place to act as an effective barrier to deer escaping from the Park. The gates can be pushed in the direction of travel and this can be done from a wheelchair or powered mobility vehicle, but we noted this was difficult for a powered mobility vehicle. The NT staff acknowledge that this was not always easy and it is another issue that they are seeking to address. It appears it does not stop the deer escaping as some managed to push the gates open with their noses.
We continued to the house and found access to and within the House is severely limited. The house had narrow staircases and stone steps into the house. An NT member said a computer is available in the main hall which offers a virtual tour of the house for those who cannot access the house. We were informed that this is an area of work which NT are addressing within their Access Project. We were informed that Assistance dogs are allowed full access to all parts of the property.
We found the garden, lake and deer park beautiful and a delight to walk round. The water mill was closed due to repair so unable to assess accessibility.
I hope this review has been helpful.
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