Stoke-on-Trent – Trentham Monkey Forest


What better way to spend a warm, indeed too warm, Saturday morning in Stoke-on-Trent than by visiting a forest full of monkeys? There are 140 Barbary macaque monkeys at the Trentham Monkey Forest park with visitors being able to walk freely amongst them, although of course they can’t touch or feed them as that would be a little sub-optimal.


The park is located in the grounds of what was Trentham Hall, one of the most tragic country house losses of the early twentieth century. At least one of the gatehouses has been repurposed to be used as the new ticket office.


I had wondered how easy it would be to spot the monkeys, but that didn’t transpire to be a problem. They congregated in numerous places and were happily minding their own business. The keepers bring out food to certain areas, which of course excites and delights the monkeys and they seem to hang around near those feeding stations out of habit more than anything. I’m sure there were some who had stomped off elsewhere and we saw a couple who had climbed a tree to get some peace, but most were lingering around the path which winded its way around the site.


Some other wildlife has sneaked in.


I kept taking photos of the monkeys, although other than put them in an album on Flickr, it wasn’t clear to me what I was going to do with them all. There’s only breed of monkey here, which lets them life safely in one community, although that does limit a little what there is to see. It was relatively quiet when we went, which was just after 10:00 when they opened, but it looked annoyingly busy as we left so an early start is recommended.


One of the eight babies that have been born so far this year. The park does have to manage this process as they only want between 6 and 10 babies per year, otherwise there might be more monkeys than they could cope with.


And a playful baby.


The younger monkeys seemed to spend their entire time playing.


The nearby adults looked quite exhausted at times.


They’ve quite expressive animals and this one looked a little forlorn.


With some others looking downright angry.


I’ve also discovered that monkeys can eat nettles.


It’s not a bad life to be fair…. The oldest monkey here is 30 years old and it must be quite a luxurious life for them as they don’t have to worry about predators. There’s also plenty of space if they want to be away from people so it doesn’t feel like they’re trapped in here.


Occasionally the monkeys walk out on the path, but there are plenty of rangers about and they just ask visitors to stand still and let them cross. I didn’t see any monkeys lingering on the path, but I suspect they’ve been trained over the years not to hang about and to just move on. I was surprised how many rangers they had at the site, but I imagine it’s essential to stop some badly trained humans from doing things that they’re not meant to be doing. I’m sure that at some stage that someone from a village who has lost its idiot has tried to feed or touch one of the monkeys.


And a ranger supervising the crossing.


And having a little rest after its brave crossing of the path.



There’s a conservation angle to the whole arrangement as well, not least in providing information to visitors about not taking part in any photos where monkeys are used as props.

The park is also well reviewed on-line, although there are of course some people determined to be angry or annoyed. Here are a few of my favourites:

“Went with my 5yr old grand daughter at the weekend and when asked by her mum when we took her home she said her favourite bit was the picnic later.”

To be fair, a lot of children would be excited by the picnic element. I’m excited by the picnic element….

“30 quid for a 15 minute walk of seeing the same monkeys over and over. Bairn was bored in 10 mins and asking too leave.”

Fair play for getting round in 15 minutes, I would have struggled to have run it that time…… The management responded saying that many visitors would spent 3 to 5 hours, which seems quite a long time, but I’m unsure how anyone got around in 15 minutes.

“I can walk round forests for free and see lively animals.”

I’m not sure how many forests in the UK you can see monkeys though….

“I can only go off what I can see and basically its just a field where someone has chucked a load of monkeys in”

A field  🙂

“No touching or feeding allowed.”

Several people complained about this. I’m puzzled why anyone would want to touch the monkeys, but there we go. I think it’s related to the expectation that the animals can be used as a photo props, something the park deliberately warns about.

“Almost all displayed animals on the “walk map” were not in the relative places of the walking tour.”

The monkeys were in the wrong place  🙂

“Monkeys were scaring our children by hissing and waving their private parts into our children’s face.”

Even the park didn’t know how to respond to this….

“You cant take scooters inside”

May as well let in motorbikes….

Anyway, I digress once again by reading reviews.


The external fencing to stop the monkeys from all rushing into the centre of Stoke-on-Trent. I’m sure they would given half a chance.


And here’s Liam just inside the entrance to the park. Also in this area are the toilets, cafe, seating and a playground. You can walk around for as long as you like, although it was hot and we felt once around the main path was enough, especially as we had other places to be. It’s also possible to bring a picnic into this area, although not of course into the part where the monkeys are as that might lead to general havoc. All really rather lovely and it’s best to pre-book as it’s a bit cheaper. We had about 90 minutes here for £10 each, which seemed a reasonable price. The rangers and staff were all friendly and everything seemed well managed to me, so I’d recommend it to others although I’m not sure how often I’d want to return as inevitably the excitement wears off a little.