The Roaches lie just a few miles north of Leek, in Staffordshire. The name derives, supposedly, from the French les roches – the rocks. It’s a most appropriate name too – there are rocks in profusion. The gritstone outcrops along the ridge are spectacular – a great subject for the camera on a day like this, with bright sunshine and low lighting angles.
Not far from the Roaches is another gritstone feature – this time, a deep rocky chasm perhaps 100 yards in length, “Lud’s Church”. Formed, it is thought, some time after the last ice age, a slippage towards the valley has created this remarkable feature. It’s well hidden in the pleasant (if somewhat muddy) woodland, though well signposted – the footpath runs along its length.
The walk back to the car ought to be an anti-climax, but it’s not – the ridge walk back to the road is airy, with excellent views. The afternoon has worn on – the light is distinctly golden for the last stretch, the very quiet road beneath the Roaches taking us back to the car.