The Roaches Walk (Peak District): Route & Full Guide
One of my favourite things about the Peak District is just how many walks there are to do. Woodland, peaks, reservoirs and rivers – there’s something for everyone. But, finding a walk that strikes the balance between effort and reward can be challenging. So, I couldn’t believe my luck when I found out about The Roaches walk! Just one short, sharp and steep ascent for a 2 km-long ridgeline with amazing views over the Peak District countryside…
And now, I’m going to share it with you. Because some things are just too good to keep to yourself! Keep reading to find out how to get incredible views for miles around with very little uphill walking and a total walking time of just 2 hours!
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|What is The Roaches?|
Where is The Roaches Walk?
The Roaches Walk: 3.6-Mile Circular Loop
Walk Map | Parking | Start Point | Directions | Useful Information
The Roaches and Lud’s Church Walk (Optional Extra 2-Mile Loop)
What is The Roaches?
With spectacular rock formations and stunning views, The Roaches is a natural wonder of the English countryside. The steep rockface is popular with climbers but has also created a ridgeline perfect for walks and illusion photographs. Views over the Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire countryside are unobstructed from the summit at 505 metres. Whilst, on clear days it is thought you can see as far as Snowdon, Snowdonia and Lancashire!
Where is The Roaches Walk?
The nearby towns of Leek, Congleton, Macclesfield and Buxton surround The Roaches. And, it is conveniently located on the western edge of the Peak District National Park, near the A53. To reach The Roaches, exit the A53 at Upper Hulme and then follow Roach Road until you are in the shadow of the overhanging rocks!
The Roaches Walk: 3.6-Mile Circular Loop
Distance: 3.6 miles/5.8 kilometres
Elevation gain: 160 metres
Difficulty: Easy to moderate (in places)
Walking time: 1.5 to 2 hours
Start and endpoint: The Roaches UKC Parking (Google Maps marker)/Roach Road
The Roaches Walk Map
Where to Park for The Roaches Walk
Parking at The Roaches is available in marked bays on the roadside and is free of charge.
If using Google Maps to navigate, use the marker ‘The Roaches UKC Parking‘ to direct you to the correct place. However, parking is available all along Roach Road in the designated and clearly marked areas. On busier days, you may need to drive further along the road to find a space.
Alternatively, use the GPS coordinates of 53.156293, -1.995408 in any navigation app to get to the nearest parking area to the start point of The Roaches walk. Unfortunately, putting in a postcode won’t work as it covers a large rural area and will take you to the completely wrong place!
Walk Start Point
The start point of this Roaches walk is at the gate from Roach Road onto the pathway near the Don Whillians Memorial Hut. The GPS coordinates for this are 53.156125, -1.995206 or the Ordnance Survey grid reference is SK 00418 62111.
One of the great things about this walk (aside from the STUNNING views) is that it is very easy to follow! Nevertheless, to get you off to a good start and give you an overview of the walk, I’ve included the directions below.
Step 1 – Getting to the Ridgeline
- As you enter the gate from Roach Road, the path immediately forks – take the more established path on the right heading uphill. After about 50 metres, turn to the left and follow the path up towards the wooded area.
- On the approach to the hut, follow the path as it bends to the left. Then, continue walking alongside the wooded area (keeping this to your right-hand side) for about 300 metres.
- Next, the path turns to the right and cuts through the wood before reaching a steep ascent in the rockface. Luckily, on this walk, most of the ascent in this very short stretch. So, once you’ve climbed this you’ll get to see the most amazing view and then enjoy a fairly flat walk along the ridgeline!
Step 2 – Walking Along the Top of The Roaches
- Emerging from the steep ascent of The Roaches, follow the path to the left as it heads north.
- You can enjoy fantastic photo spots along the whole ridge, but there are certainly some spectacular ones overlooking Tittesworth Reservoir just after the steep ascent. Additionally, after around 300 metres you’ll reach Doxey Pool – a small body of water on the top of The Roaches, thought (by some) to be home to a mermaid!
- Keep following the track for another 1 km to get to the trig point of The Roaches. But, be warned, it can be very windy!
- From the trig point, keep following the path for another 1 km where it meets a road. Here, you have the option to add on an extra 2-mile loop to visit Lud’s Church. For more details, see the section below on The Roaches and Lud’s Church walk.
Step 3 – The Gentle Descent
- Turn left onto the road (Hazelwood Road) and follow it all the way back down to where you are parked! The road has a gentle decline and is the perfect ending to the walk as no uphill walking is required! There are no pavements, but the embankments are wide enough and easy enough to walk on if and when a vehicle is passing.
- The walk back along the road is just under 3 km and can be completed in about 45 minutes at a reasonable pace.
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.
Other Useful Information
A walk along The Roaches makes for an easy day out. But, you still need to make sure you’re prepared as British weather can be unpredictable, particularly in the countryside and at elevation.
- Walking boots are ideal. But, you’ll. be able to complete the walk fine in good trainers if the weather is dry (and has been dry for at least a few hours!)
- The ridgeline is very exposed, bring layers such as lightweight running tops, waterproof jackets, hat and gloves to keep warm. I visited in May and in the space of several hours experienced sun, rain, snow and high winds! However, The Roaches does offer a good vantage point to see if rain or storm clouds are on their way. So, keep an eye out and be prepared to pick up the pace!
- If you’re looking to treat yourself, check out the Roaches Tea Rooms & Restaurant, located just outside Upper Hulme.
- Or, if you’re up for more of a challenge, embark on a longer walk to The Roaches via Hen Cloud from The Roaches Tea Rooms. Parking is available here for just £2 for the day.
Paper versions of Ordnance Survey maps are perfect for countryside walks. Relying on Google, phone signal and battery power is never a good idea! Order yourself a copy today with next day delivery on Amazon Prime!
The Roaches and Lud’s Church Walk
From the most northerly point on The Roaches walk route, you can add on a 2.1-mile, 1-hour circular loop to visit the enchanting Lud’s Church. Once you complete the Lud’s Church circular walk, you can simply continue with the second half of the Roaches walk described in Step 3 above.
And, Lud’s Church is not something you’re going to want to miss. While The Roaches offers fantastic views for miles around, Lud’s Church is an 18-metre deep chasm in woodland created by a landslip many years ago. You can walk into the chasm and explore the 100-metre long, moss-covered, narrow passages. It’ll leave you feeling like you’ve been transported to an alien planet!
If adding on this Lud’s Church circular walk, the total walking time will be about 2.5 to 3 hours, although you may want to allow another 30 minutes for photos and view admiring! The two walks also give a total walking distance of about 5.7 miles.
For more information, including detailed information on the walking route and its history, make sure to read this post on the circular Lud’s Church walk!
Do have any questions or want any more information? If so, drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you!
Information correct as of June 2021 but is subject to change in future.
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