WALKING | The Roaches to Lud’s Church Peak District Walk

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Walk details

Route: The Roaches & Lud’s Church circular walk
Distance: 11.5 km / 7.14 miles
Grade: Easy-moderate
Navigation: Easy to follow route
Time: 4 to 4.5 hours
Summary: A fabulous walk through spectacular scenery steeped in legend. Moderate initial ascent up The Roaches, small slippery steps down to Lud’s Church and a couple of short but strenuous climbs back up through ancient woodland.

Hen Cloud at the Roaches

On our way upThe view looking up from the bottom

For my birthday this year I decided that I wanted to spend a day outdoors. My autoimmune condition has been particularly bothersome over the last few weeks, but undeterred and with stubborn determination on my side, we set off early on Friday morning and headed for the Peak District.

The Roaches

We piled our walking gear in the boot of the car, and stopped off en route for water and snacks to eat on the go. The Roaches were easy to find, and close to Tittesworth Reservoir where we’ve walked before, and close to Barnswood Scout Campsite where we’ve camped several times in the past.

Walking the RoachesThe start of the walk, with a path up The Roaches

We parked up, changed into our walking gear and headed up. The walk is graded as ‘easy but strenuous’ and with long parts of it uphill, we did have to stop a few times to catch our breath, and though no parts were a true challenge, we certainly did feel some of the longer uphill climbs!

I’d heard about The Roaches (what a horrible name!), and with it only being a 40 minute drive from home, I decided that it would make the perfect location for a hike. I consulted my Collins Short Walks in the Peak District book and found the perfect route, which also took in the highest pool in the Peak District and the cave known as Lud’s Church.

Impressive rock formationsSpectacular rock formations popular with bouldering enthusiasts

The scenery continually changed, making for a truly fascinating walk, as there was always something new to look at. I love walks like this, and despite the dull and overcast weather, I was beaming from ear to ear.

Walking the Roaches

As with so many recent walks, we’ll have to come back again on a clear day and try this shot again

Pretty early on in the walk after the initial ascent, I spotted something on a rock far in the distance. I rushed to swap my camera lens to try and capture it. I managed to get a shot, and when I zoomed in, I was delighted to see that it was a red Grouse! Having never seen one before it really made my day.

Red Grouse The Roaches One of three red Grouse that we spotted on our walk

At the top of The Roaches before we reached Trig point, we walked past a tranquil pool of water known as Docksey Pool, which was a great spot to take a breather and take some magical photographs.

Docksey Pool, The Roaches

Docksey pool

According to The Roaches website, the pool is supposed to be bottomless and is connected by underground channels to Mermaid pool about 3 miles away, and it’s also the highest pool in the Peak district.

Docksey pool The RoachesDocksey Pool at the top of The Roaches in the Peak District

We carried on walking across the ridge, hopping over rocks and picking our way up until we finally got to the Trig Point marking the summit.

The ROaches Walk

The Roaches Trig PointThe Roaches Trig Point


We continued on, down the far side and eventually emerged at squeeze stile, then on across a field and into some of the most beautiful woodland I’ve ever encountered. We picked our way along the path, but had to frequently head off-track to avoid vast swathes of mud that threatened to sink us up to our ankles.


We soon found ourselves at a cliff, and headed down teetering, slippery stone steps into a hidden cleft with its own microclimate and some fascinating and delicate flora. As we progressed through Lud’s Church, with towering rock either side of us, there was a truly special vibe in the place and we were both instantly transported back in time.
Walking In The Peak District

Path through ancient woodland leading to Lud's Church

Path through ancient woodland leading to Lud’s Church

Legend has it, that Lud’s Church has offered shelter to renegades, and it is claimed that Robin Hood used it too. When the followers of the early church reformer, John Wycliffe were condemned as heretics, they used it as a place of worship in the early 15th century, which is where the name comes from.

Lud's Church in the Peak District

Lud's Church Peak District

Deep Inside Lud’s Church 


Not sure what this is, but it was growing everywhere

The church is the ‘Green Chapel’ referenced in the classic medieval poem, ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’ and there is an undeniable crackle of ancient energy that remains in the space that we both felt there. Truly breathtaking, my photographs don’t do it justice!
Lud's Church

Woodland near Lud's Church

The woodland walk back following the stream

The walk back took us back through the bottom of woodland we’d passed through earlier, though this time we were on the lower path running next to a pretty stream. There were a couple of short climbs before we made it back to the squeeze stile, and then to finish off the circular route, we stayed relatively flat and walked 2 miles down a country road back to the car park.

The perfect way to celebrate my Birthday. I loved every second of this walk, and we’d highly recommend you try it!

walking route

As usual thanks to stopping every 5 seconds to take pictures and swap over camera lens’, our average speed is dire, but we still completed the walk in 4.15 hours despite so many stops, and having a sit down for lunch and a natter to some fellow walkers.

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Shell Robshaw-Bryan
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