Start – Gradbach car park, SJ998662, Distance – 18.5km, Ascent – 700m, Time – 5hrs 45mins plus stops.
A long walk taking in the rocky ridges of the western peak. Most of it follows good paths, although there are a few off-piste diversions. The Back Forest ridge is accessed via an obvious concession path at the end of the ridge. The route from Ferny Knowl to Ramshaw Rocks is across an area of heather-covered access land, either following the access track from the farm or cutting directly across the moorland. At Ann Roach Farm there is a concession path that takes you over the rocks above the farm, rather than following the right of way below it – try not to miss this, as it’s a great little route. The final diversion is to the top of Gradbach Hill across the heather moorland. Getting off is a bit tricky, as there is a vague path marked by stakes that comes straight off the top of the hill down to the farm track below. If in doubt, you can miss Gradbach Hill by sticking to the right of way along the farm track. Although the walk is a fairly long one, there are plenty of opportunities for “escape” routes along the way.
Lud’s Church, above Gradbach Woods. A bit dank and dingy and not as well-appointed as even the more modest of churches, but worth a look anyway.
Looking back along the ridge indicated as “Back Forest” on the OS map.
The Roaches viewed along the Dane Valley from close to Three Shire Heads.
Rock outcrops echo into the mist. The easy accessibility of The Roaches, coupled with these type of gritstone edges, make them popular with climbers.
Although this area is south of what’s commonly known as the “dark” peak (Kinder, Bleaklow etc), it has far more in common with that area than the limestone dales to the east.
The Roaches ridge is littered with weathered rocks like these.