The Roaches form a gritstone escarpment in the Peak District looking over the Leek, Tittesworth Reservoir and the Cheshire Plain. This jagged crest of rocks, along with Hen Cloud and Ramshaw Rocks marks the south west tip of the Pennines. Today we take a trip to it, over it and around it while extreme dog walking.
Avoiding the weekend crowd awards seldom seen solitude and the rocks are relatively devoid of kids, climbers and other craghoppers. It’s a chance for us to take the our dog Nelson out and away far from the madding crowds that freak him out. Not that he appreciates it, he just wants to wee on every bit of grass. It’s also a chance to wear some of the unsuitable gear we bought for Arctic Circle trip in Norway earlier this year, which was most of it.
It’s beautifully quiet with some great views. Jodrell Bank and Cheshire is in the distance, Tittesworth Resevoir nearby with rolling cloud shadows draped across the land. Sheep graze among the moorland, Peregrine Falcons nest among climber free rocks while the heather shelters Curlew and Golden Plover . The Roaches is an impressive sight rising steeply with an elevation of 505 metres. We started on the solitary edge of Hen Cloud before the gentler walk along coarse sandstone of The Roaches across the lower and upper tiers.
It can feel a million miles from nowhere but there are surprises along the way. The Queen’s Chair, Doxey Pool and a bronze age cremation urn with cremated human remains was recently found on The Roaches as a workman reinforced the footpath. There are those that suggest that Hen Cloud is named because to some it looks like a roosting hen, I can’t see that myself. It’s more likely from the Anglo-Saxon name of ‘Henge Clud’ which means steep rock, which you can definitely see.