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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Zara Whelan

Forest where you can walk with monkeys is reopening for 2020 - and it's only an hour from Manchester

A forest full of free-range monkeys is set to swing open its doors for another season later this month - just in time for the February half-term.

Trentham Monkey Forest is the only place in the country where you can walk freely with the endangered monkeys in the forest - with no cages or bars.

The popular attraction welcomes visitors from across the UK, all hoping to meet the family of resident monkeys in person - and it's only an hour from Manchester.

Set in 60-acres of ancient wood near Stoke, Staffordshire, it's home to 140 free-ranging Barbary macaques.

Visitors are able to walk along the pathway through their habitat, which is around a mile long, as the endangered animals run wild as they play, eat and climb right in front of your eyes.

The experience is complete with hourly feeding talks so you can learn more about the monkey's while watching them in their natural habitat.

There are also guides situated throughout the forest to help answer any questions you may have.

Over 90 babies have been born at Trentham since the park opened in 2005 and have since helped tell the story of the wild Barbary macaques whose numbers have decreased by more than 50 per cent in just 30 years.

One of the baby Barbary Macaques monkeys at Trentham Monkey Forest (TIM EASTHOPE/BIRMINGHAM MAIL)

Last summer saw three adorable baby monkeys join the community amid the ancient woodland - the first newborns at the site since 2017.

Director Matt Lovatt said: "With conservation now firmly at the forefront of political discussion, we’re delighted that the work we undertake at Monkey Forest is more relevant than ever.

"We can’t wait to invite visitors for the 2020 season and tell them about the endangered Barbary macaque, after all, they are the closest wild living primate to us here in the UK’’.

They are the closest wild living primate to us here in the UK (Birmingham Mail)

Trentham Monkey Forest opens for the 2020 season on Saturday, February 15.

It's located at the Trentham Estate, just off junction 15 of the M6, and takes around an hour by car.

This year marks 15 years since Trentham Monkey Forest first opened, and park bosses are inviting visitors to join them with a 15 per cent discount on online tickets across opening weekend.

To get the reduced price entry, use discount code 15YEARS when booking tickets online via the Trentham website.

The code is valid for tickets booked in advance for entry on February 15 and 16 2020, online before 10am on the day of visit.

The monkeys' natural habitat is in the mountainous regions of Morocco and Algeria and are really well acclimatised.

As a they result can live quite happily outdoors during England's cold and wet winters.  They have a small team that work with them through the winter months while the park is closed, and the Barbary macaques grow thick winter coats to stay warm.

The park first opened to the public 14 years ago when two groups of the Barbary macaques were re-homed in Trentham from existing parks in France.

Today there are now only about 8,000 Barbary macaques left in the wild due to loss of habitat through excessive logging, overgrazing by cattle, poaching, and disturbance from humans and other animals such as dogs.

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