The Roaches and Lud’s Church Walk In The Peak District
The Roaches and Lud’s Church walk in the Peak District is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, walking routes in this stunning UK National Park.
Lud’s Church chasm in the Forest Wood of Gradbach is breathtaking beautiful to the point where the only local residents could only possibly be pixies and fairies.
With so many sights to see on this walk it was slightly disappointing to start the day with poor weather but it did, fortunately, brighten up later in the afternoon.
Whenever possible, I like to do the boring part of the walk first, ie anything to do with roads or lanes, to get my pace going and clear my mind. I find this really helps to complete a long and challenging hike as I always have something to look forward to and fully appreciate how lucky I am to be able to enjoy our amazing natural beauty outdoors.
We were staying in Leek, Staffordshire, so I made the short drive to Upper Hulme and parked in a lay-by on the lane near Windygates Farm.
It was a drizzly morning and mist covered the tops of The Roaches behind me.
I started my walk continuing along the lane passing the disused quarries on my right hand side until I eventually reached a way marker to Gradbach and Danebridge, and so passed between the stone stile.
I continued my walk following the sign post along the track.
I kept straight ahead at the sign post for Swythamley via the Ridge and again where the tracks crossed.
The track then curved gently around to the left at the top of the Ridge to Hanging Stone and it’s views.
I then walked sharp right down the track following the sign post to Gradbach and Lud’s Church.
At the next sign post for Lud’s Church I walked right and then entered Forest Wood following the main track in.
After a few minutes I noticed a gap in the rocks on my right hand side with worn steps leading up.
Naive as I am I was waiting to see an actual church entrance but thought I’d take a look through and see where it led.
As I walked up and then around to the left I climbed down to see wooden beams with coins embedded in them, something I’d seen before in the Peak District on a walk in Dove Dale.
Lud’s Church chasm twists and turns with the light shining through the cracks in spectacular fashion. It was an amazing experience.
I must have exited Lud’s Church at the wrong place as it took me a few minutes to get back on the main track leading out of Forest Wood.
After a short time I found the next sign post so followed it in the direction of the Roaches.
Leaving Forest Wood the track climbs gently uphill to a stile which crossed over to the stone stile I had crossed through at the beginning of my walk.
I then followed the main track and sign post to the next main section of this walk – The Roaches.
The Roaches are fascinating and I imagined all sorts of characters worn out from the stone…
This part of the walk was just as straightforward as the rest of it had been. It was just a case of following the main track.
At the end of the Roaches there was a rocky climb down but if I had have kept more to the left I think the main track was a little less treacherous.
I enjoy a bit of a climb so continued down this way.
The track widened as it went down hill at Rock Hall to a gate and I could see my car again in the distance.
I continued my walk through Hen Cloud down to the lane and walked left to reach the lay-by.
This was one of those walks that when it ends you feel an overwhelming moment of sadness and joy.
It had everything – spectacular views, ridgeways, forests, a chasm, plenty of rocks to climb and the gorgeous fresh air of the Peak District National Park.
This walk covered 8 miles and took just over 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete.