OS Explorer OL24 - The Peak District, White Peak Area
OS Land Ranger 119 - Buxton & Matlock, Bakewell &
Dove Dale Buy
Collins Ramblers Guide - The Peak District Buy
This is a fairly easy trek but with the chance of a
lofty ridge walk and a view of some of the most unusual
and amazing looking grit stone formations in the Peak
District. This small trek takes you to the summit of Hen
Cloud and then over the length of the Roaches ridge path
after taking in the scary rock faces of The Roaches that
will no doubt have brave climbers hanging off them. The
trek despite being fairly easy going is great for one
of those short of daylight hours or afternoon treks as
it is varied and ridge walk and the huge grit stone formations
make the trek seem a lot larger than it actually is.
To get to the starting point of the trek turn off
the main A53 road that snakes its way over the south
western Peak District moorlands from Buxton to Leek.
A sign post for the village of Upper Hulme leads off
the main road a few miles out of Leek. Follow the road
into the village and take the small road off that road
that leads down and into the valley. Follow the road
till it bends round and crosses the beautiful River
Churnet ford through the small hamlet then past the
old factory where years ago a thriving silk industry
existed. Then the road narrows and rises back out of
the other side of the valley and up towards the Roaches.
You will pass Hen Cloud on your right of the road and
then there'll be a large number of parking spaces by
the road where the foot paths lead towards Rock Hall.
Follow the path that leads directly across marshy land
towards the huge rock climbing cliffs and Rock Hall
below them. Rock Hall is the former game keepers hall
that is now used as a great BMC rock climbers bothy,
it was rebuilt in memory of Don Whillans who was a big
part of the 1950's rock climbing revolution, a local
born lad from the streets of Salford in Lancashire.
The rocks here are famous in the rock climbing world
and offer real challenges to the most experienced, the
best known rocks are known as Valkyrie, the Sloth and
From Rock Hall a footpath goes towards the col between
Hen Cloud and The Roaches. Follow this path until you
reach a stile over a dry stone wall that leads across
the col seemingly separating the two hills. A very obvious
footpath now leads to the summit of Hen Cloud which
stands up proud at only 410m above sea level it dominates
the sky line above its much flatter surroundings. The
view off Hen Cloud consists of the flat Cheshire plains
to the west, the twinkling waters of the Tittesworth
Reservoir and of course the defining grit stone ridge
of The Roaches to the north. Descend Hen Cloud the same
way back down to the stile at the dry stone wall.
Now follow a footpath towards the back of the Roaches
ridge, this path will turn into an easy scramble and
eventually after ascending the back of the ridge will
top out on its crest. The path then follows a very easy
but often rough route across the top of the Roaches
ridge. From here you can look back towards the huge
rocks above Rock Hall and take in the 360 views of the
start of the Peak Districts grit stone spine. To the
eastern side of the ridge the moorlands are very bleak
heather peat lands.
The Valkyrie Rock
Hen Cloud And The Roaches
Walkers in years gone by on the Roaches often found
themselves having to check there metal state after appearing
to see kangaroos leaping across the heather moorlands.
However this was actually completely real and the marsupials
in question were actually red-necked wallabies. These
were introduced to the moorlands during the war when
a local land owner had to release his exotic animal
collection into the wild moorlands due to war regulations.
The small colony lived on the perfect heather moorland
environment for around 50 years but due t increased
human intervention and the young being eaten by dogs
and foxes, the colony is now rumored to be completely
wiped out, the last sighting of the colony by a zoologist
from Manchester University reported seeing just two
females which led to rumors that the colony was gone
forever. Two other colonies existed those of Mid Sussex,
also now extinct and a colony on a small island in the
waters of Loch Lomond in Scotland which due to its location
and the local preservation has meant they still exist
You will eventually come to a small pool of water known
well as Doxey Pool. Legend has it that a resident mermaid
by the name of Jenny Greenteeth entices walkers into
the blue waters of Doxey Pool and into a watery grave
from which they do not return. Myths like these are
rarely proven although in misty weather do be careful!
From Doxey pool the path continues past huge weathered
boulders of grit stone before eventually reaching the
summit trig point of the Roaches. At only 505m above
sea level its hardly a high peak although its 360 views
are well worth its climb. The huge satellite communications
dish of Jodrell Bank can be seen to the north west and
the surrounding heather moorlands are a purple wonder
in summer months.
Roaches Summit Trig Point
The path will now head north eventually descending
down towards Bearstone Rock and will then reach the
small road at which point you should turn left over
the stile or through the gate and head down the road
passing Roach End and then past the footpaths towards
Clough Head. The road will take you parallel with the
ridge enabling you to see it from a completely different
angle. The road will lead all the way back to the starting
These photo's are taken from a trip
by myself on January 22nd 2005.
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