The Roaches and Lud’s Church Walk

A 7 mile Peak District Walk starting at Rock Hall near Upper Hulme.

Start: SK 00417 62112
Map: Landranger 119, Explorer OL24
Difficulty: 7
Refreshments : The Roaches Tea Room (11 mins walk)

This Peak District walk takes us along the full length of The Roaches escarpment. The name Roaches gets its name from the French word ‘rochers’ meaning rocks. The Staffordshire Wildlife Trust took over the lease of the Roaches Estate in 2013 to continue the excellent work carried out by the Peak District National Park.

The first section of the walk follows the gritstone edge of the Roaches for 2 miles with extensive views over the Staffordshire Moorlands south to Hen Cloud, across to Tittesworth Reservoir and over to Ramshaw Rocks.

The Roaches is popular with rock climbers marvel as they scale the unusually named gritstone climbs like the impressive Damascus Crack. Also at home on the rocks are the resident peregrines. These large and powerful falcons nest on the ledges during the spring and can reach speeds in excess of 180mph as they stoop to get their prey. The walk passes all manner of unusually shaped and weathered gritstone as the walk progresses towards the summit. Just before reaching the top we arrive at Doxey Pool. The pool is said to be haunted and the home of a mermaid that may entice you into its calm blue waters. Don’t hang about here if you’re wary of ending up in a watery grave but continue a little further on shortly reaching the trig point the highest point on our walk at 1,657 ft.

After descending from the summit we cross a minor road and head into Forest Wood following a path above Black Brook to Lud’s Church.

Lud’s Church is a deep cleft in the hillside above Forest Wood, it is about 300ft in length, between 30 to 40ft in height and between 6 and 10 feet wide. The walls are sheer and overhanging with vegetation clinging to them, the climate down here is dank and damp and often shrouded in an eerie sort of mist rising up mysteriously from the millstone grit floor. The entrance is narrow and cave-like, the exit to the north a scramble over wet rock and through overhanging ferns. Legend has it that it was a hiding place for Robin Hood and his men some suggesting it could have been known as Hood’s Church.

The Roaches and Lud’s Church Photo Gallery

The Roaches and Lud’s Church Walk Directions

Parking is available along the road below The Roaches. Beware! there are sheer unfenced drops on the ridge.

From here walk to the col between Hen Cloud and  The Roaches. Turn left off the main path to Rock Hall. From Rock Hall follow the path towards Hen Cloud, turning left to ascend over rocks to a path that runs above the wood and below crags. The path passes above Rock Hall and later turns right onto the ridge proper.

Here turn left walking along the ridge passing Doxey Pool to the trig point at Roach End Summit.  Follow the path down through the rock formations to the road at Roach End. Cross the road and follow the ridge path to Castle Cliff Rocks. Ignore the signed path leading off to the right to Lud’s Church and carry on along the ridge, eventually descending to a junction of paths.

Here turn right sign posted Gradbach, follow this path into Forest Wood, bearing right sign posted Lud’s Church. Turn right into Lud’s Church and descend left down steps and through the chasm. Climb the steps at the end and out into Forest Wood. Go through the wood bearing right back onto the ridge at Roach End.  Follow the gated road back below Five Clouds to the car park.

Copyright © Peter Cox. All rights reserved