Experiences Found by Passing Strangers

This past week or two we have had some really nice weather here in North West England. So last Saturday I decided I wanted to go take a walk somewhere. I kept contemplating where to go. After thinking long and hard about it, I told my friend, Ste, I wanted to go feed the ducks, swans, pigeons, etc. So I picked up some wild bird seeds and nuts and headed to Taylor Park.

Normally when I go to Taylor Park, I walk around it going counter clockwise but this time I decided to go clockwise around the park. There was a path I had never taken before and I go curious. I asked Ste what was up that path and he told me when he was a kid he used to go up to the quarry on the path where they used to have a rock climbing wall, but unfortunately when we walked there it was closed due to flooding. Guess they never opened it back up. We continued up the path on a hill and passed a lady playing keep away with her dog. She was saying how her dog wanted to keep playing and how hyper she is, so I found it quite funny.

The path had lead to a hill that I recognized but never been up it. So, I was like “oh so this is where that leads to!” It just lead back down to usual path we take when walking around the park. After stopping for about 15 minutes to feed more birds, we continued on the path only to run into the same woman with the dog. She was sitting on the bench and her dog was still so hyperactive wanting to play. Me being an animal lover sat down on the bench and watched her dog trying to get the ball she had just put away in her bag. I couldn’t help but exclaim how nice the breeze was in the shade where we were sat so she began to talk to me about places she’s been when the weather is nice.

My ears perked up when she mentioned a place where you can go walk in an open area with monkeys. She was saying how there’s a wonderful park to take a walk in and next to it you can go in to a place called Monkey Forest. I tried to find out as much as I could about it and thanked her for telling us about this place.

As the weather continues to be great, yesterday I told Ste, “it’s so nice today, I know where we should go. Let’s go to Monkey Forest.” Once he agreed we got a few things ready to go, drinks, snacks, change of clothes, etc. I’m sorry but I like to be prepared for worse case scenario especially knowing this place is an hour and a half away in Stoke-on-Trent. Only downside of the day was that when you’re stopped still in traffic, it gets too hot in the car. You’re probably wondering, “why didn’t you just turn on the A/C?” Well the car is a bit on the old side and doesn’t have a functional A/C. But once we were moving again the breeze was great.

Once we got to Monkey Forest, after getting lost once, we paid our way in and saw the place was full of families who looked like they were having fun. At the entrance was a cafe, picnic area, souvenir shop, and a small area playing a documentary of the species of monkey they had there, the Barbary Macaque. I didn’t get to sit through the whole 15 minute documentary because I had looked up and saw a huge spider. Just so you know I don’t do well with spiders and I’m absolutely terrified of them.

A little further into the park, you come across a gated area and a staff member who will take your bags if you don’t want to carry them to hold in the cubbyholes behind him. He explains the simple rules you need to follow before you go in. Which the ones I remember clearly are: Do not eat or drink in the forest and You must stay at least one meter away from them. There were a couple more rules but I forgot. I know, how horrible of me.

Once you walk in, you start to follow the path to the feeding area. Along the path there are info boards giving you tid bits of information about the Barbary Macaque as well as staff members to help with questions or problems. As your walking you can hear the activity inside the forested areas. They had just finished one of their feeding times so we sat down on a bench that was perfectly shaded by the trees and watched the monkeys playing and scavenging for food. We walked around till the next feeding time was due, but I cannot express how wonderful the whole area was. Surrounded by trees, monkeys, and great weather, I couldn’t have asked for more. I would have to say if you take your time walking around and watching monkeys you can get about 2 hours worth of a great time.

One last thing, the staff were very helpful and knowledgeable when we had a load of questions about this species. If you’re ever in Stoke-on-Trent and want to plan a day out, I would recommend going here if you’re into nature and animals, you will not be disappointed.

Below are a few pictures I manage to take. I apologize ahead of time that they are not high quality.

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