The gritstone edge of The Roaches form the western boundary of the Peak District. The name is derived from the French ‘rochers’ for rocks. We were there to do a reccee for the next walk with Crosby Rambling Club.
We parked at the Visitors Centre at Tittesworth Reservoir as this is where the coach will park next week. We then had to walk a mile and a half to the parking place at Rockall which is the normal starting point for the walk. We followed a lower path between huge rocks and trees before climbing up a steep path to gain the ridge. Our way was now to the left along the ridge from where we could look down over the Cheshire and Staffordshire Plain and to Tittesworth Reservoir below.
Soon we came to Doxey Pool, a mysterious place with no inlet or outlet stream.
We continued along the ridge to reach the trig point at 1658 ft from where there were marvellous views. We did not stay for long as it was very cold in the wind.
We continued along the ridge pausing to look as some of the rock formations carved by the wind and rain.
The ridge ends at Roach End where we crossed the lane and followed signs for Lud’s Church. A path to the right led us down to Gradbach Wood and we then followed a track through Black Brook valley which took us to Lud’s Church.
Lud’s Church is a moss filled chasm reached by some stone steps cut into a narrow cleft in the sandstone cliff. Local legend suggests that this secret spot was a meeting place for Lollards in the 14th and 15th century. The Lollards were a group of religious heretics who followed John Wycliffe. They were persecuted and had to find secret places to worship, hence the name Church. It is thought that the spot was named after one of Wycliffes followers, the pastor Walter de LudAuk.
In the ‘church’ we found a log with coins hammered into it. People hammer coins into the log in the hope that it will bring them luck. I believe it is called a ‘Wishing Tree’
Examination of the coins revealed that they were not all from the UK. There were Euros and some American coins.
We now had to work out a route back to the car. It did not look easy, a confusing mixture of field path and farm tracks. It would test our navigation skills. The area was not walker friendly. We encountered broken stiles, waymarks that were lying on the ground and a gate tied up with barbed wire. Oh, and lots of ankle deep mud!
We each had map, compass and GPS, so we should be OK.
We only made one mistake. At a broken down signpost we chose a route walking down a steep field alongside a stout barbed wire fence. At the bottom we found we were hemmed in. We were only 20 feet out, but the gate was the other side of the fence.
Eventually we reached Upper Hulme and the Lazy Trout Inn. No time to stop today but we needed to time the walking distance from the Inn to the car park. It might be important on Sunday.
On the way back there was an accident on the M62 and the motorway was blocked. We eventually arrived home rather late. It had been a long tiring day. Only 11.5 miles but it seemed much further in all that mud.
My legs ache. Would a glass of red wine help?