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Home » Walk Hen Cloud, Roaches & Lud’s Church from Ramshaw Rocks

Walk Hen Cloud, Roaches & Lud’s Church from Ramshaw Rocks

A demanding 10 mile walk taking in the high viewpoints of Ramshaw Rocks, over Hen Cloud & The Roaches, descending to the chasm of Lud’s Church, and returning below Gradbach Hill.

Even after hot dry weather, Lud’s Church can be very muddy, with stepping boards, stones and logs used to cross the mud. Together with the uneven nature of other paths on this route, this makes walking boots an absolute essential. A trekking pole is not essential but is incredibly useful when crossing the mud in Lud’s Church.

Distance: 9.97 Miles (16km)
Total Ascent: 2199ft / 670m
Time: 2 hr 20min
Map: Ordnance Survey OL24 (The Peak District – White Peak Area)
Get this route on the OS maps website & app
The time is loosely based on Naismith’s Rule and will vary depending on the walker.

By Car:

Roadside Lay-by opposite Stake Gutter Farm, 1/2km south of The Winking Man public house on the A53 Buxton to Leek road.  The lay-by is on the northbound side.  Winking Man postcode ST13 8UH

Public Transport:

Bus Service 108 from Leek stops at The Winking Man pub, walk south from the pub to the lay-by to the start of the walk.

From the lay-by, opposite Stake Gutter farm, walk south then turn right onto the Public Footpath signed ‘Churnet Way’. Climb the makeshift stile over the fence and head diagonally across fields towards Ramshaw Rocks.

Cross a stile and turn left following the Public Footpath beside the wall behind the rocks. At a path fork, keep straight ahead through a gate and follow the path to Ramshaw Rocks through another gate at the corner of the dry stone wall.

The path passes behind rocks at first, before summiting part-way along the outcrop. Continue on the main path along Ramshaw Rocks, keeping straight ahead as you pass behind the last large outcrop and then dropping down to a minor road on your right.

A path runs along the top of Ramshaw Rocks in the foreground. Behind and in the distance are fields and rollign hills. Tittesworth Reservoir is in the far distance.
Ramshaw Rocks

Descend the path from Ferny Knowl, ford a small stream, climb over a stile and pass right of remains of an old farm building. Ignore a hand gate on your left, instead swing right on a path heading north-west and through a hand gate onto a clear track, bearing right along the track.

Follow this clear farm track up to the entrance of Hall Farm. Just before the track enters the farm turn left on a path marked “Concession path to The Roaches”. Cross a stile and climb the hillside to reach another footpath which runs left to right.

Turn left on the narrow path that contours around the hillside and go through a gap in a stone wall into a wood.  Follow the prominent path through the wood and through bracken to join a wider path.

Continue heading downhill past a small group of large boulders and through a gate on your left to reach Roaches Hall

Roaches hall stands at the end of a driveway. Metal railings run along the right of the driveway.
Roaches Hall

Head right, passing Roaches Hall and head down the drive and over a cattle grid. Shortly after the cattle grid look out for a path heading right and uphill between two stones. Take this path heading partly back on yourself as you climb, passing the cattle grid once again below to your right; keep bearing left keeping fairly close to your rocks on your left as you pass around them.

As you notice a clearer path heading downhill, instead continue around the rocks on your left, maintaining height; soon after this the path up to Hen Cloud out of the woods becomes clear ahead.

A rocky path climbs up Hen Cloud. Bracken lines each side of the path. A large gritstone outcrop juts out from the hillside
The Climb to Hen Cloud

Leaving the trees, climb the path with a rock outcrop jutting out towards you ahead then bear left along a path that heads towards a gap between two large boulders. Walk towards the boulders then turn right just before them, ascending the path to the top of Hen Cloud, with wide views over Tittesworth Reservoir and the surrounding countryside

"The gritstone edge of Hen Cloud stands above the fields below. A path runs along the top of the escarpment.
Views from the rocks of Hen Cloud, south of The Roaches

Head along the top of Hen Cloud heading north by north west towards The Roaches which are clearly visible ahead as you drop down the obvious path from Hen Cloud.

Pass through two hand gates and continue straight ahead up the path heading up to and passing through a gap in a dry stone wall ahead.

Walk through this climber’s playground with the first section of the gritstone escarpment above you to your right.

A footpath runs below the gritstone of The Roaches to the right. A line of trees run alongside the left of the path
The path beneath the first part of The Roaches, this area is very popular with climbers for obvious reasons.

On reaching a path junction turn right and head uphill climbing to the top of The Roaches on a steep but easily walkable path. Turn left at the top to walk along The Roaches.  Pass Doxey Pool, the site of a mermaid legend, on your right and follow the guidance to stay on the rockier footpath to prevent erosion of the peat moorland on this popular and sometimes busy path.

A path runs along the top of The Roaches. Weathered and shaped gritstone rocks of the edge are to the left of the path.
Path heading along the gritstone edge of The Roaches

Continue along The Roaches past the trig point and stay on the main path as it then descends down to the road at Roach End. On a summer day, there is often an ice cream vendor to be found at the roadside at Roach End.

On reaching the road, turn right heading down the metalled track signed “Public Bridleway” then, shortly after as the track begins to bear right, turn left up steps and through a gap in a wall onto Public Footpath heading downhill beside a dry stone wall on your right.

The path bears left as it drops into Back Forest and then, at a path junction and signpost, bear left signposted “Lud’s Church / Swythamley”

Continue along the wooded path until another path junction and signpost.  Here, turn left, signed “Lud’s Church and Ridge”. Very soon afterwards at the next path junction, turn right, following the path over duck boards, again following the sign for “Lud’s Church” until you arrive at the chasm of Lud’s Church. This narrow channel between the gritstone is reputed to have been used as a secret place of worship by the Lollards, and also suggested as the site of The Green Chapel as referred to in the Arthurian poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

A path leads through the chasm known as Lud's Church. Gritstone rock stands either side, with mosses lining the stones. Plants grow from crevices in the rock. The green-ness of the growth on the rocks indicates the dampness within the chasm.
In the chasm of Lud’s Church (also known as Ludchurch)

On reaching the path junction turn right, signposted “Gradbach”. Take the rightmost path which descends through Back Wood. At the next junction keep straight ahead, signposted “The Roaches” and reach another junction at a stepping stone river crossing.

Turn left and cross the stepping stones then bear half-left to walk uphill on the Public Bridleway.

The bridleway turns to the right as a path meets from the left. Bear right continuing uphill heading approximately north-east towards Gradbach

A clear bridlepath ascends with trees to the left and a drystone wall to the right
The Bridleway up towards Gradbach from Back Forest

The bridleway narrows and keeps climbing in the direction of Gradbach.  Pass a private drive on the right then, shortly afterwards as the bridleway track levels out, turn right over a stile beside a gate and then pass left of a farmhouse.

Walk through the farmyard, exiting through a gate at the far side and continue to climb the farm track.

Make your way through two fields with a wall on your left then. as the track ends, pass through a gate on your left and continue in the same south-easterly direction now with the wall to your right, and the edge of Gradbach Hill over to your left.

Pass through a field then part way through the second field the path bears slightly left, away from the wall towards a tree.  As you reach the tree bear left up to and through a hand gate and follow the path as it ascends with a dry stone wall to your right.

Pass a gate on your right, keeping straight ahead uphill alongside the fence to your right.

At the top of the ascent, pass a footpath marker post, ignore a gate on your right and follow the path as it bends slightly to the left, keeping the fence on your right.

Pass through a gate straight ahead and descend to the corner of a minor road, with the road ahead and left and a farm track to your right.

Turn right on the Public Footpath over a stile just after the farm track and head south, ignoring temptations of clearer-looking paths that head off to your left towards the road; the southward path soon becomes more obvious as you progress.

Pass a footpath marker post to the right of some small stone ruins and continue straight ahead through a stone squeeze stile, after which step over the old dry stone wall on your right and walk to the right of the wall, soon bearing right towards a stile.

Cross the stile and walk around the left of the field. At the bottom corner of the field, turn left. At a footpath sign at the far right-hand corner of the next field with farm buildings to your right, keep straight ahead crossing a farm track beside Goldsitch House, then follow the footpath arrows half left up to a gate and signpost.

Turn right, signposted ‘Ramshaw Rocks via Hazel Barrow’, bear left over a stone bridge and then right beside a gate onto Public Footpath, then left over a stile.

Long grasses carpet moorland. A path ahead leads to a gate, indicating the route of the footpath. Hills rise above ahead and in the distance.
Moorland on the route towards Hazel Barrow

Keep to the waymarked path, crossing a stile and continuing directly to the left of a fence.  Pass through two gates, watching your step on the section between them on the rocky uneven ground; after the second gate bear left heading uphill.

Cross a wooden bridge and stile to reach a road. Turn right, up the road to the road junction at Hazel Barrow.

Pass the road on your right opposite Corner Cottage, then head right through a hand gate heading south by southeast and continue in this direction, roughly towards Ramshaw Rocks that you can see ahead.

The path climbs up the moorland to a stile over a fence. Cross the stile then walk diagonally left down the field, signposted “Churnet Way” and continue in this direction retracing your steps from the start, back to the road.

Turn left up the road back to the Stake Gutter layby and the start.

Heather lines the Staffordshire Moorland with the edge of Ramshaw Rocks visible ahead
Moorland on the route back towards Ramshaw Rocks