Peak District – Ludd’s Church and The Roaches 29/07/12

Distance -11.3 miles
Ascent - 2393 feet
Time - 6hrs 17min

Route - Upper Hulme - Hen Cloud - The Roaches - Back Forest – Ludd’s Church - Hanging Stone - Dane Valley Way - Roach End - The Roaches - Upper Hulme

Map of the route

Ludds Church and the Roaches is a walk I have wanted to do for some time but I’m put off from walking in the White Peaks due to my fear of cows. After searching the internet and asking a few questions about this route I was assured that there would be no cows on the route, I decide would make a great walk to take my wife on. With the mileage been just a little over eleven miles it was the perfect distance before my wife would be getting fed up.

Arriving in the little village of Upper Hulme around 9.20am we found a space in the lay by just outside the entrance to the Roaches House. We started off with a gentle walk under Hen Cloud following the road to the Roaches House to the little gate at the far side of the car park. This is the start of the ascent to Hen Cloud with a gentle climb through the woods, as you start to gain height leaving the woods the spectacular views open up and you can see for miles. Just before the summit there are some huge rocks which had fun climbing, this is what my wife likes about walking taking our time to enjoys the views and surroundings while I like to get my head down ticking the miles on as quickly as possible but I was enjoying the change of pace.

We had done most of the hard work already just a small decent then the ascent on to the Roaches ridge would take us to the small watery pool of Doxey Pool. Legend has it that the pool is inhabited by a mermaid called Jenny Greenteeth it’s said that she fell in to the pool on a foggy day whilst walking along the top of the Roaches. Ever since that day she has been enticing unsuspecting victims down to the pool to their watery grave. But I'm still here.

With the sun shining and clear blue skies the views along the Roaches ridge are fantastic passing the spectacular boulders of the five clouds we reached the trig point and was really surprised to have the place to are self’s. Crossing the road at roaches end we made our way to the sign post to Ludds Church which took us into Back Forest. When we found the small entrance covered by a thorn bush my wife and the dogs were not too happy about climbing down in to the bottom but I managed to persuade them we would be fine getting down

Ludds Church is not an actual church it's a deep chasm penetrating the Millstone Grit bedrock created by a massive landslip on the hillside above Gradbach. It is believed to have been used as a secret place of worship in the 15th century. It make a fantastic place to visit even if a bit strange as no light get through to the ground making it really muddy not allowing much to grow on the floor. The narrow walk way last for about 5 minutes before you come to the exit.

After not wanting to go down into Ludds Church my wife said she had a great time scrambling down and walking along the narrow walk way. From here we headed to find the Hanging Stone where we stopped for dinner with the great views making a great spot to stop for a rest.  After dinner we made our way along the Dane Valley Way through the woods towards Gradbach where a hail storm came but luckily we was in the woods which offered us some shelter. The storm was still coming down as we passed Gradbach and my wife was starting to get fed up and tiring; luckily the storm soon passed clearing the skies for the sun to come out again

As we neared Roaches End we had dried out and worked up quite a sweat by the time we reached the road where the sight of an ice cream van was very welcome sight. The well-earned ice cream went down a treat.

Assuring her that we didn't have long left till we would be back at the car, we headed back along the Roaches Ridge to the end where we would be able to cut down to the road where the car is parked.

On arriving back at the car I checked the total millage and ascent and was really surprised how little we had covered it felt like we had done much more. The little ups and downs quickly add up. Making it a lot harder than I was expecting, a great walk that we both enjoyed and I would really recommend giving it a go if you haven't visited these parts yet.


  1. I thought I'd left a comment yesterday. Anyway, just to tell you your photo's are brilliant. I wanted to visit Ludds Church, but now I know there is so much more in the area to see. Class :-)

  2. Thanks I wanted to do it for ages and was really pleased to do it and had a great time. If you wanted to make it a bit longer you could add Ramsaw Rocks on to it.

  3. Excellent blog about one of my favourite walks anywhere. I was lucky enough to grom up in Macclesfield and my dad used to bring me here when I was just a nipper. An excellent pub at Wincle called The Ship for a post walk drink and a great tea rooms just below Hen Cloud (check out the filled oatcakes). There were peregrines nesting on Hen Cloud last year and we saw them zooming around last time we went. Apparently the only time the sun shines into Luds church is midday on tyhe summer solstice. One further Lud's Church factoid is that the story of Gawain and the Green Knight was set there.