Dunham Massey's seasonal picture gallery
PUBLISHED: 00:16 01 January 2011 | UPDATED: 18:22 20 February 2013
Photographer John Cocks explores the winter wonderland of Dunham Massey
When the snow lies deep and crisp and even you have two choices - get out in it, or snuggle up warm indoors. And as these pictures by Cheshire Life picture editor John Cocks show, when the temperature drops, the fun levels can rise.
Youngsters made the most of the chilly conditions at Dunham Massey when the snow fell last January. And while they were throwing snowballs, tobogganing and building snowmen, other people were enjoying the beauty of the grounds and gardens in their wintry blanket.
And while most gardens at this time of year are far from their best, the new seven acre winter garden at Dunham Massey is in its prime.
The garden - the largest of its kind in the UK - contains hundreds of varieties of plants and shrubs, all specifically chosen for their winter colour, fruit, flower or scent.
And when the snows melt, the first signs of spring appear as thousands of snowdrops and narcissi bloom among the trees.
The park and gardens are open all year round and the hall itself will re-open at the end of next month but the restaurant will be closed for refurbishment from January 17th to February 1st.
The Grade One listed house is set in a magnificent 300-acre deer park and was initially built in the early 17th century and was home to some of the county's most influential families. It was used as a military hospital during the First World War and was given to the National Trust in 1976. It now attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
Be a happy snapper
Photography in the snow is great fun and if you can brave the cold the rewards can be fantastic. Follow these tips from Cheshire Life Picture Editor John Cocks to make your winter photos fantastic.
The best time is in the morning following an overnight snowfall, especially when the sky turns blue and there are no footprints or tyre tracks in evidence.
Modern cameras are great at calculating the correct exposure in most situations but can often be fooled when faced with all that bright whiteness. The metering systems tend to take an average reading of the scene and this can result in under exposure (or dark) pictures. If your camera has a facility to override or increase the exposure then you need to try this.
A good starting point would be two stops extra (ie: if the aperture reading says f22 then make it f11 or increase the time say from 500th/sec to 125th/sec)
If you are photographing people then it is best to take a meter reading off the person's face from close up, make a note of this and then step back and take your shot.