Southport is a seaside town 16 miles north of Liverpool. Easily accessible by rail or road, it’s a popular day out destination, and still a holiday destination. It’s also just the sort of place that has had a wealthy history with lots of suburbs and so ripe for monkey hunting. I’d driven through Birkdale recently and found two monkeys – reported here. There is also a botanic gardens in Churchtown, north of Southport, and my first PR monkey was in Churchtown itself, but I’d also been told there was another in the botanic gardens. So off we set on a monkey hunt. My first monkey of the day was not a PR monkey, but one I’d seen on the A565 north of Crosby. It’s a difficult road to stop on as it is the main road north to Southport but as you know, monkey hunting can be dangerous at times and we monkey hunters accept that as part of our determined role to catalogue monkeys. My driver wasn’t so sure. We managed to get this photograph:
This monkey is in a garden of a very unusual house, but I couldn’t manage to photograph the house from this side of the road, and crossing the A565 at this point with 50mph traffic would have been far too dangerous, even for an avid monkey hunter. So we returned later that day, and I got these photos to show you the location.
A very unusual house, possibly a toll booth of some sort. We are directly opposite the grounds and estate of Ince Blundell Hall here.
So, back to our PR collection. Approaching Southport our first tree is in Birkdale, further along from PR3 and PR4 I’d previously spotted.
This is a mature tree, and I am guessing the house is not the original house on that site.
After lunch we continue up to Churchtown, spotting two in the same road, Cambridge Road.
I didn’t notice when I took this photograph that there was a kitsch use of bedding plants around the base of the tree… I only quickly snatched the photograph. We are in deepest suburbia here, a dangerous place, and sometimes we need to get in and out of the monkey location as quick as possible! We have found some suburbians are not too happy about strangers taking photographs of their houses.
Our next monkey took a bit of hunting. I would have expected the botanic gardens to have a monkey, they do have a good selection of trees, including gingko, but I’d not seen one there before. When we were in Clitheroe – hunting monkeys – I was reliably informed by the women in Pendle Stitches that there was a monkey here, and given a rough location. Now, not all monkeys survive, so I didn’t know if it would still be there. And of course, I usually expect a monkey to be highly visible, given that it is so distinct from broadleaf trees. We struggled to find this one, but here it is:
Having successfully found this one, we decide to go back through Churchtown thinking that there must be more monkeys there.
Had to be very quick with this one, as the owners were in their living room. Did make me think about where to plant a new monkey as they very quickly grow into sizeable trees that require a lot of diameter… this one is probably about 18 years old (you count one whorl of branches for each year to give an estimate of age).
Thinking we’d finished with monkey hunting for the day we set off back to the main road to Liverpool. Only to spot this in an unlikely location. The gardens are not especially big, and here’s a lovely outsized monkey in Hart Road, Southport.
And, as is often the way, driving home we spot a last monkey. This is in Ainsdale.