Lud’s Church is an other-worldly chasm in the Staffordshire countryside waiting to be explored. Tucked away in the woodland, you’ll need to be on foot to find this hidden gem.
In this guide, you’ll find beautiful Lud’s Church walk routes through the Peak District countryside. Plus, there’s all the information you need for a fantastic trip out. Including, information on where to park, Ordnance Survey maps for the routes, directions and practical advice.
Lud’s Church Walk: Overview
|Lud’s Church Parking
Short, circular walk
2.1 miles | 1 hour
Short walk from Gradbach
2.1 miles | 1 hour
Lud’s Church and The Roaches walk
5.7 miles | 3 hours
This hidden gem is an 18-metre deep, 100-metre long, Y-shaped, moss-covered chasm. It was created by a landslip but has the feel of another planet entirely.
Particularly so, given Lud’s Church Peak District has its own microclimate: humid, wet and cool.
This contrasts with the harsher weather typically seen out of the chasm in the Peak District and north of England. As such, you feel like you’ve been transported away from Earth instantly!
Full of small nooks and crannies in addition to the main walking route, it’s a great place for all the family to explore.
So, if an other-worldly experience in the Peak District countryside sounds like your cup of tea, keep reading… In this guide, you’ll find out all about how to get there, where to park and what routes to take.
Where is Lud’s Church?
Lud’s Church is located on the western side of the Peak District National Park.
Its position in the Staffordshire Peak District is around a 20- to 25-minute drive from Macclesfield, Congleton and Buxton. While the closest village is Gradbach.
Other popular landmarks around include The Roaches – a stunning ridgeline with cool rock formations – to the south and Hanging Stone to the north. As well as the 48-mile-long Dane Valley Way stretching from Buxton to Northwich alongside the River Dane.
How to get to There
Being located in the middle of the woodland, the only way to get to the chasm is to walk.
Unfortunately, there is no public transport that will get you anywhere close to the chasm, which is located around 7 miles from both Buxton and Leek.
Lud’s Church Parking
The two Lud’s Church car parks closest to this natural landmark are both a 1.5-km walk away:
- Gradbach Car Park (free)
- Hazelwood Road (free, roadside parking)
Both have limited spaces so make sure to arrive early and have a backup plan. If Gradbach Car Park is full, there is private parking available in a nearby field for £5 all day.
Route 1: Lud’s Church Circular Walk (2 Miles)
Distance: 2.1 miles/3.4 kilometres
Walking time: 1 hour
Start and endpoint: Hazelwood Road-Clough Head Lane
This short and simple Lud’s Church circular walk is easy to follow with good views of the Staffordshire countryside. And, with hardly any incline it makes for an easy walk, especially great for little ones.
Make sure to download the GPX file below so you can keep on track!
The car parking for this route is on the side of Hazelwood Road – close to where it merges with Clough Head Lane, northwest of The Roaches.
There are no specific markers on any maps or satnav apps, so, you need to use the GPS coordinates: 53.177477, -2.007883.
Save the location or copy the coordinates into your maps app. Additionally, make sure to check for any car parking restrictions as these can change at short notice.
Walk Start Point
Once you’ve parked on the road, head up the stone steps to the north. These stairs are sandwiched between two wooden signposts.
You’ll need to squeeze through the small gap in the wall to reach the public footpath for the Lud’s Church walk start point on the other side.
Lud’s Church Walking Route Directions from The Roaches
- Pass through the gap in the wall on Hazelwood Road and then through the next gate. Then follow the path parallel to the drystone wall for 800 metres.
- When the path splits, take the right-hand fork and continue for 300 metres. Turn right following the sign for Lud’s Church.
- Turn left once you reach the wooded area and continue along the path crossing a few plank bridges to keep you above the mud.
- Follow the path as it drops steeply into the chasm, using steps in the rock. You’ve made it to this alien planet-like hidden gem!
- To return, leave the chasm through the exit opposite where you entered. Then, turn right just out of the chasm and continue straight for 500 metres to where two paths merge.
- Continue for another 700 metres, admiring Gradbach on your left across the Black Brock River. Next, take the right-hand path before turning right again after 100 metres.
- Keep on this path as it emerges from the woodland and runs straight all the way back to the road and walk start point.
Click the link above to download the file for use in a GPS viewer. This way you’ll be able to track where you are on the route using your phone’s GPS – avoiding accidental detours and providing reassurance for less experienced countryside walkers! Once you’ve downloaded the GPX file above, install a GPX viewer app (Google PlayStore or iPhone App Store) and load the GPX file.
Route 2: Lud’s Church Short Walk from Gradbach (2 Miles)
Distance: 2.1 miles/3.3 kilometres
Walking time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Start and endpoint: Gradbach Car Park
Enjoy this short but simple Gradbach walk to one of the Peak District’s best hidden gems. This Lud’s Church walk is a similar distance to the one above that starts near the Roaches.
However, this walk includes a total of 109 metres of elevation. As such, it’s slightly more difficult – especially for younger children and people with mobility problems or limitations.
Lud’s Church Parking in Gradbach
Take advantage of the free parking at Gradbach Car Park. However, there are only about 20 spaces and it does get full early on weekends and in the summer months.
Lud’s Church Short Walk Start Point and Directions
- From Gradbach Car Park, turn right onto Gradbach Mill Lane and follow the road until you reach Gradbach Mill. Before you reach the river, turn right onto the footpath that passes The Farmhouse and the cafe.
- Keep on the path until it reaches a T-junction, here you should turn right and then continue straight over where another path crosses. As you enter the wooded area, the route to Lud’s Church Peak District is well-signposted and easy to follow.
- The path climbs uphill to the main attraction, looping back on itself before you need to turn right off of the trail and into Lud’s Church Macclesfield. You’ll enter at the bottom of the Y-shape, with the two channels to explore at the far end.
- After exploring the small nooks and feeling the humidity of the deep chasm, make sure you exit back out the same way you enter. As there are two other entrances/exits, this is particularly important.
- Now, simply retrace your steps and follow the signs back to Gradbach, passing the mill along the way. The cafe is open all week during the summer months or weekends only in the other months, perfect for a post-walk treat!
ROUTE 3: The Roaches and Lud’s Church Walk (5.7 Miles)
Distance: 5.7 miles/9.2 kilometres
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Walking time: 3 hours
Start and endpoint: Roadside parking on Roach Road
This figure-8 route circles around both The Roaches and Lud’s Church. It’s a lot longer than the routes above and requires a lot more uphill walking.
But don’t let that stop you! This route has some spectacular views over the rolling hills of the Peak District National Park and nearby landmarks such as Tittesworth Reservoir.
As a figure-of-8 route, you have a couple of options for where to park. Pick from the following free options:
- Roadside parking on Hazelwood Road (middle of the 8)
- Roach Road roadside parking (bottom of the 8)
Walk Start Point
As a circular walk, you can start anywhere along the route. But I’d recommend starting at either of the parking places above.
The directions below start from The Roaches parking (the bottom of the 8 shape).
- Head from Roach Road towards the hut and then follow the path to the left alongside and into the wooded area. Head steeply uphill when you reach the rocky cliff.
- At the top, follow the path to the left and follow it all the way along the ridge of The Roaches. Take some time to stop and enjoy the view!
- Once you reach the road, cross over and head through the gap in the wall and the next gate. Follow the path for around 800 metres.
- When you reach the sign for Lud’s Church, follow it to the right and then through the wooded area until you reach the magical chasm!
- Heading back, leave the chasm through the opposite exit and follow the path all the way back to the road. Finally, turn right on the road and follow the gentle downhill descent back to where you parked.
For more information on The Roaches Walk, this complete guide will give you all the information you need for spectacular viewpoints and rock formations!
Is Lud’s Church Dog Friendly?
Yes, dogs are allowed inside the chasm and the walk through the woods is great for four-legged friends.
Is Lud’s Church a Hard Walk?
The shortest and most direct routes to Lud’s Church Peak District are easy, even for the most inexperienced countryside walker.
The 2-mile return route from Hazelwood Road, near The Roaches, is flatter and easier. However, the average person will still manage fine on the uphill route from Gradbach.
How Long is LUD’S CHURCH Walk?
From the nearest car parking areas, the most direct routes are about 1.5 km – just under 1 mile – each way.
Of course, if you want to add other places to your walk such as The Roaches or Hanging Stone then there are longer routes available.
Where do you Park for Lud’s Church?
The nearest Lud’s Church car parks are at Gradbach Car Park or roadside parking on Hazelwood Road (where it meets Clough Head Lane, northwest of The Roaches). Both are free of charge.
Do you have any questions or want any more information? If so, drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you!
Information is correct as of February 2024 but is subject to change in future.
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