Hiking in the Peak District – Luds Church & The Roaches

Hiking in the Peak District – Luds Church & The Roaches

As we only live an hour from the gorgeous Peak District National Park we have made it our mission to explore as much of the area as possible!

I had read about Luds Church when researching day hikes and one weekend during the summer we decided the weather was just right for a lovely hike so off we went to find the geological wonder that is Luds Church.

Luds Church is located in Gradbach, around 20 mins from Leek. We parked at the Gradbach Mill Lane carpark (this is the recommended carparking area). It is a 3 mile round hike from this point.

We grabbed a bite to eat (supermarket sandwiches….we are classy) before we set off and made sure we had plenty of water, the temperature was already pushing 30 degrees by lunchtime.

Off we went following the GPS walking route, through gorgeous flower filled fields (I got attacked by nettles), over pretty brooks, up steep hillsides and eventually we reached a nice little walking track through the Black Forrest. We definitely underestimated the heat. I don’t think I have ever sweated as much before.

I knew from the photos that Luds Church was going to be pretty spectacular but nothing really prepares you for the experience. Luds Church is a giant deep chasm forged in the Millstone Grit Bedrock by a massive landslip. Covered with vivid green moss, as you climb down the natural stairway you are transported into another world. It feels a little like you are Alice in a green wonderland. It also felt a little “Picnic at Hanging Rock” esque, G had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.

The chasm is so much bigger than we thought it would be. There are little nooks and crannies to explore and rocks to scale. L was in his element here! The air is close inside and there is an eerie atmosphere, made all the more so when a group of choir members treated us to an impromptu performance. The acoustics are amazing!

Luds Church is so named after it was used a place of worship in the 15th century by church reformers who were declared heretics, they secretly met in the chasm. There is also some speculation that Robin Hood used it as a shelter.

After an hour exploring we decided to make our back to the car. Not before we climbed to top of a rocky outcrop for amazing views over the valley.

L did so well to walk in and out on such a hot day. We all breathed a sigh of relief when we got back to car, more water and melted chocolate.

We had initially planned to head straight home but on driving through Upper Hulme we decided we couldn’t leave without exploring the fascinating rocky ridges that make up the area known as The Roaches.

We parked in a layby and made our way up the short heather lined track to the rocks. There was a lovely breeze blowing by this stage so we sat and soaked up the stunning views and the cool air.

L loved rock hopping and dashing in and out of the naturally formed tunnels. I’m so pleased we made the stop. There is a full hiking trail that you can follow, but that is one for another day.

Home we went with sweaty shoes, tired legs and massive smiles. Luds Church really was worth the effort!

The hike is fairly easy but I’d recommend sturdy shoes and make sure you have lots of water. L managed the hike with little bother, we saw some even younger children along the way. We can definitely recommend adding Luds Church and The Roaches to your Peak District hiking list!

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Thanks for reading.

L x

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  1. We’re in Staffordshire and I’ve been wanting to visit Lud’s Church and the Roaches for the longest time! It looks spectacular. I bet it’s beautiful in Autumn too. I think I might add it to our list for October half term…

    • Oh you must! Its an amazing and really special place. We might visit again during the Autumn months, I imagine it will be gorgeous!

  2. I’ve not been to the Peak District before but am heading there next year so this is a perfect post for me! Luds Church looks stunning, the greens of the moss and leaves is beautiful. My boys love walks like these (after their obligatory moan about having to go out of course!).
    Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

    • You will love the Peak District! It’s gorgeous. Luds Church is absolutely a must see. Lumdale Falls is also another favourite of ours x

  3. Peak District is so beautiful isn’t it?! We don’t go out walking enough, probably because a walk always ends up with a child on our shoulders 🙂 Luds church looks so picturesque Lou! Thanks for sharing and linking up to Monday Escapes.

    • Its one of my favourite places to visit and go walking! Beautiful at all times of the year. There are some great walks that are perfect for little legs. I published a post yesterday actually about family and walks in the Peaks 🙂 xx

  4. Lindsay

    Hi, great review… What is the terrain like before you reach Lud’s church? We want to take our 3 year old but I’m worried about too many hills and climbs!

    • Hi! The terrain is quite varied with a few uphill areas but it is mostly paths all the way. We saw some younger children on the track and at Luds Church. The only area that they might need a little help is climbing down into the actual chasm itself. I’d really recommend a visit it’s beautiful!!