Monkeys are great aren’t they and our little monkeys (groan….!) were very excited about the prospect of walking amongst over 140 of them in a forest in Staffordshire!
Monkey Forest is home to the endangered Barbary Macques species, originally from Algeria and Morocco and now part of a very successful conservation project allowing them to roam free in this section of Trentham Estate. Following a short briefing about how you should behave (no monkey business!) a maintained pathway takes you through the forest. At first you feel slightly apprehensive; each time you hear rustling in the trees, is something about to leap out? The anticipation of all the kids around us was palpable! Who’s going to spot the first monkey???!!!!
Quite used to seeing tourists, the monkeys sit and pick, roll in the grass, wiggle their bottoms at you, climb trees and generally watch you wander by. Some of the younger ones love to perform and their antics will have you giggling in no time. Then suddenly you’ll hear a shriek and roar and everybody rushes to watch the older monkeys get grumpy and fight, more than likely over food. All great fun and all part of the experience.
The circular route is just under one mile, so an easy walk for all the family and I would say fine for a pram bar a few steps here and there. There are guides throughout to answer questions and every hour, a feeding session to watch. Our walk round took just over an hour.
At the end, the landscaped area has two adventure playgrounds; a centre playing a documentary film about the monkeys; picnic tables; shop and the pleasant Banana Café, selling hot meals and sandwiches, with space to sit inside and out. It’s an interesting and unique place to visit though probably not a full day out so you may want to consider combining with a trip to Trentham Gardens.Open Daily Feb half term plus Sat & Sun in March 10am-4pm; 1st April-18th July 10am–5pm; 19th July-31st Aug 10am-6pm; 1st Sep-25th Oct 10am-5pm; 26th Oct-2nd November and weekends in Nov 10am-4pm. Adult £7.50, Child £5.50, under 3s free. Trentham Monkey Forest, Trentham Estate – Southern Entrance, Stone Road, Trentham, Staffordshire ST4 8AY Tel: 01782 659845 monkey-forest.com