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The Roaches Walk (Circular): Leek, Staffordshire

The Roaches Walk (Circular): Leek, Staffordshire

Nestled in the south-west edge of the Peak District, you’ll find The Roaches.

Derived from the French word “roches” – meaning rocks – the name perfectly describes the craggy landscape.

Popular with climbers and hikers alike, it’s a go-to for those looking to scale its peaks or simply admire them. And the reward? Breathtaking views of Staffordshire and the shimmering waters of Tittesworth Reservoir.

Join us as we step into this rocky wonder!

Getting to The Roaches

By Car: The Roaches are best accessed by car, situated just off the A53.
Public Transport: Unfortunately, there aren’t any public transport options leading directly to The Roaches.

While there aren’t any official car parks designated for The Roaches, you’ll find a generous number of laybys along Roach Rd offering free parking.

If you’re out of luck and those laybys are full (it can happen on a sunny day). The farm at Roaches Tea Rooms occasionally provides all-day parking in their field for a small fee.

Parking Along Roach Rd (Free)

Address: Roach Rd, Leek ST13 8UA

Parking on Roach Rd extends over a considerable stretch, beginning at ///offstage.catchers.fizzy and concluding approximately a kilometre further at ///acclaimed.tasty.ordering.

The local authority is vigilant in issuing fines for vehicles parked outside these designated zones, so it’s important to ensure you’re within the specified boundaries.

To ensure you secure a parking spot, consider arriving early in the morning or later in the afternoon. The day of the week and season can significantly influence the crowd levels at The Roaches, so plan accordingly.

The Roaches Walking Map & Route

Download file for GPS

The walk covers roughly 6.6km (4.1mi) and takes between 1.5 to 2 hours. It encompasses the major landmarks around The Roaches, including Hen Cloud, and proceeds with a gentle ascent towards The Roaches’ trig point. Part of the route retraces the original path before returning to the starting point. Along the way, walkers can enjoy splendid views of Staffordshire and Tittesworth Reservoir.

View OS Map of The Roaches Walk

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The beginner-friendly AllTrails App, focuses on community-driven information but offering less detailed maps.

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Step by Step Roaches & Hen Cloud Walk 6.6km (4.1mi) ~ 1.5-2hrs

Given the extensive parking along Roach Road, the starting point may vary. For the sake of simplicity, the route begins at the entrance to Roaches Hall. Walk down the road until you spot the turn-off, signposted as “Roaches Hall”.

1.Proceed down the path for a short distance, where you’ll pass by the front of the hall. Don’t be deterred by the “private property” signs; this route is a public footpath as indicated on the OS maps.

The Roaches Hall where walking path passes

2. After bypassing the hall, there’s a gate on your left leading uphill. Stick to the left until you reach a switchback, which continues uphill until you ascend to the summit of Hen Cloud and its rocky outcrop. From here, the panoramic views are truly a feast for the eyes.

hen cloud view point with man standing on top

3. Descend the path on the opposite side of Hen Cloud. Reaching the base, you’ll pass through two gates, marking your entry into The Roaches.

4. Embark on the path circling the back of the rocks. As you gain altitude, the silhouette of Hen Cloud becomes visible in your rearview.

view of hens cloud from behind on top of the roaches edge

5. Upon reaching the ridge, maintain your course on the path, offering picturesque views, with The Roaches forest just beneath you.

the roaches view from along the path above

6. Continue on, strolling past Doxley Pool – a mysterious water body rumoured to be the abode of a mermaid who entices unsuspecting travellers to their watery end. The path persists along the rocky outcrop.

doxy pool on top of the roaches

7. Following another ascent, you’ll stand atop The Roaches, marked by a trig point that rises 505m high, distinguishing it as the 27th highest peak in the Peak District.

Fancy a longer stroll? Extend your journey by persisting along the path, eventually arriving at Lud’s Church, another coveted spot in the Peak District. This addition approximates an extra 2 hours of walking, covering an additional 5.2km (3.24 mi).

the roaches to luds church walk os map

8. Retrace your steps on the path until you encounter the designated marker on the map, then veer right, descending into The Roaches forest. Along your route, you might spot a myriad of bouldering enthusiasts, for which the area is famed.

the roaches forest area with boulders

9. Shortly, you’ll emerge from the tree canopy, continuing your descent. At the fork, bear left and pursue the path that leads back to Roach Road, where your journey commenced. Depending on your parking spot on the road, you might need to venture a tad further.

the roaches walk down hill towards roach rd

Amenities & Facilities at The Roaches

Amenities at The Roaches are sparse, so it’s crucial to be self-sufficient by bringing all you need and ensuring you take everything away afterward.

During summer, an ice cream van can often be found in the layby at the base of The Roaches.

For those in search of refreshments, The Roaches Tea Rooms & Restaurant is conveniently located within walking distance and offers a range of food and drink.

If you’re craving something heartier or traditional pub, consider:

  • Ye Olde Rock Inn: Located a short way down Roach Road, just off the A53.
  • The Winking Man: A renowned pub situated along the A53, a mere 5-10 minute drive away.

For a wider selection of amenities, including supermarkets, the nearest towns to The Roaches are Buxton, about a 20-minute drive away, and Leek, roughly 15 minutes in the opposite direction.

The Roaches – FAQs

Here are some common questions related to The Roaches:

Is The Roaches a hard walk?

The Roaches walk covers a distance of 6.6km (4.1mi) and generally takes around 1.5-2hrs. While it involves passing through major points such as Hen Cloud it does require some elevation, but should be suitable for those familiar with moderate walks.

Why are The Roaches called The Roaches?

Traditionally, the name is believed to be derived from the French word “roches” meaning rocks, indicating the rocky landscape of the area.

Are there still Wallabies on The Roaches?

In the 1930s, five Australian Bennett’s wallabies were released into the wild at The Roaches. This colony persisted into the 21st century. However, it’s believed the wallabies might now be extinct.

Is the roaches walk suitable for dogs?

While the area is open to the public, dog owners should be mindful of the wildlife and the potential for high foot traffic, especially on weekends. Always keep dogs on a leash, especially near wildlife, and ensure they don’t disturb nesting birds like the peregrine falcons.

Are the Roaches in the Peak District?

Yes, The Roaches are located in the Peak District’s south western edge.

What is the highest point of the Roaches?

The highest point of The Roaches is where the trig point stands, which is at an elevation of 505m. This makes it the 27th highest peak in the Peak District.

How deep is Doxey pool?

Doxey Pool, sometimes spelt as Docksey, is a small pond measuring about 15 by 10 metres (49 by 33 ft). While its depth is not specified, it’s known for the legend of the mermaid Jenny Greenteeth or the blue nymph.

Is there a trig point at The Roaches?

Yes, there is a trig point at The Roaches. It is situated at the highest point of The Roaches, standing at 505m tall.