Updated: Sep 27
Monkeys in the UK
"A unique place to spend the day"
First of all, whoever decided to build this place is a genius, and I'd happily block a bullet for them if they ever happen to be the target of an elaborate assassination attempt.
The reason I wanted to visit this small reserve was to prepare myself for my holiday to Gibraltar, which is famously knowin for it's Barbary Macaques who live on The Rock Of Gibraltar. Monkey Forest hosts the same species of Macaques, so I thought this would be the perfect place to practice any Macaque related assaults against me.
I traveled here via a train from Lime Street Station to Stafford Station, then I hopped on a bus that went straight to Monkey Forest. Entry was only £6 and I spent the next few hours chilling with the Macaques, making a good day!
The reserve hosts about 140 Barbary Macaques, who are allowed to roam free around the wooded area and are looked after very well. They were so well behaved and honestly looked like they all just wanted a hug. Unfortinately, you are forbidden from hugging these fluffaholics.
I have to say though; I came here expecting utter chaos. Stealth attacks from every angle, people running in fear, nature at it's most untame. However, I was utterly surprised by how tame every Macaque was! It was like they were bred into tranquility, devoid of aggression or rivalry. I spent months fearing Macaques, watching Youtube videos of Gibraltar attacks (when venturing up The Rock Of Gibraltar), trying to master the art of monkey deflections. This was the only place I could practice such acts in the UK. Surprisingly, these are the most British monkeys ever. They looked like they preferred chilling with a cuppa tea and a Jaffa Cake, as opposed to stealing my wallet.
Are they actually monkeys?
"Yes, according to me"
I mean, according to the signs jotted about, they are monkeys, even though they are referred to as apes. Gibraltar also taught me the same thing, so it must be true, but apparently the debate can get ferocious on Reddit, so call them what you want, but I'm referring to them as monkeys (mainly because it's easier and funnier to call something a monkey).
These MONKEYS really just needed some Jaffa Cakes. Most were not doing much, just kinda lounging around. There was certainly no monkey business going on here. Honestly, they so stationary, for the most part. Some would walk around and cross your path. Workers are told to prioritise monkeys, over humans, when it comes to 'right of way' on the paths. Basically, if a monkey was to pass, you were told to stop moving and let it pass. I presume this is for your safety, but you also were not allowed to touch any monkeys. But what if one attacked me? Well these are the most British monkeys ever, and wouldn't do such a thing.
How long does it take to walk around?
Realistically, it takes a very short amount of time to walk around the reserve. If you take your time, you can get about an hour of entertainment from walking around in a loop, but maybe less if you are in a rush. Like, to just walk around and not observe the monkeys, it's like a 15 minute walk.
Despite that, I'd still recommend visiting on a day with good weather. The reason I came here was to see monkeys, and that's why anyone visits here. It's educational and unique, so you are expected to take your time and take photos as much as you can. Kids are encouraged not to fist fight any monkeys, but I can still imagine kids getting a lot from being able to walk with monkeys. Not many other places in the world allow this, especially in the UK. To see a place like this in Britain makes me very happy, to be honest, and has inspired me to respect this particular animal more.
Barbary Macaques are definitely interesting creatures, and to say I will be interacting with many in 2021 is magnifficent. It's a real honour to even be able to interact with so many. Please view my Gibraltar page to learn more about the wild Macaques, and enjoy the remainder of the photos below.