Where – Monkey Forest
When – 2 visits so far, August and October 2011.
- Trentham Estate – Southern entrance
- Stone Road
- ST4 8AY
Admission – Adults: £7.00 each
Oaps/students £6.50 each
Children (from 3 to 14 years old): £5.00 each
Disabled/carers (no restriction on numbers) £4.50 each
Under 3 years old Free of charge
My Review >
We only vaguely became aware of Monkey Forest last year, and had it on our agenda for a while before we finally got there for the 1st time in August this year.
As far as the UK is concerned this is a unique set-up. In an enclosed forested park, 140 Barbary macaques in 2 separate troops, are able to live a pretty natural life.
Once in the park there are no fences to keep the monkeys away from the visiting humans, and they roam at will around your feet going about their daily business, pretty much ignoring the humanity!
Like ourselves, they play, eat, laze, fight all within touching distance (although touching not allowed diseases etc). importantly neither is feeding allowed by visitors, in fact it is strongly discouraged. The reason is so that the macaques can forage for the regular scatter feeds they are given, so simulating what they would do in the wild. Mostly for that reason they have no expectation of food from the visitors, so take little notice. Unlike on the rock in Gibraltar, where they have learned that humans carry food in their bags and are known to go into people’s bags and steal!
Barbary macaques, as far as primates go are one of the more laid back types of monkey, and although they have troop wars, as they did briefly during our October visit, they do not have the aggression of some other primates, and a visit to the park is an absolute joy. We particularly enjoyed watching some of the younger members of the troop swinging and playing in the trees, and also watching the young being carried on the back of older troop members.
We found 2 older macaques sitting side by side, obviously friends, in a very laid back human style with legs stretched out in front of them, watching the world go by, we still giggle about seeing this now:)
As far as I understand, the goal at Monkey Forest and her sister parks in Europe is to reintroduce the monkeys safely back into their natural environment in Morocco, whilst encouraging new born whilst in captivity.
We spent about 60-90 mins walking round the park on each visit, although you could easily stay longer. And as there is a cafe, so you could stop for lunch, and go back to the forest after, in our opinion it is 7 pounds very well spent, and the macaques are lovely!
Hope you enjoy the photos…..Shaun