The Roaches and Hen Cloud Circular Walk
As part of my training for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge we’ve been putting together some long walks in the Peak District. This circular Peak District walk takes in Gun Moor Trig Point, The Roaches Trig Point, Hen Cloud, Ramshaw Rocks and Merryton Low (Blake Mere Trig Point). At 17 miles it’s definitely a challenge distance-wise (for me!), with some steep climbs.
Starting at Tittesworth Reservoir car park, this walk lets you tick off the Gun, The Roaches, Hen Cloud, Ramshaw Rocks and Merryton Low Peak District Ethels as well! We stopped off for a very well deserved drink at The Lazy Trout in Meerbrook after the walk.
Annoyingly we set out late and got to the car park later than we intended, meaning we had to cut our route short. We were also going to include the Peak District Ethel at Revidge which would have made our walk 19 miles+. Next time!!
Our walk started at Tittesworth Reservoir and heads through the village of Meerbrook, past The Lazy Trout pub. Follow the road up the hill to the gate leading onto Gun Moor. A short walk across the moor to the north, over well worn but muddy paths, will take you to the Gun trig point. This is the first of 3 trig points on this walk, making it into a Hat Trig walk – Hols loves that phrase.
After the photos at Gun Moor trig point, we headed off north across the moorland plateau. We came to a farm track and followed this for about 300m before setting off over the fields to the north-east. The path across the field is quite hard to see but there are stiles in the walls to guide you across.
We passed through Meadows Farm yard (with a sheep guarding the access!) and out onto the road, which we then followed up the hill towards The Roaches. At the T junction with the well and signpost, take the left road and keep climbing up Clough Head Lane. This was a long hard slog of a hill to get up and I was very glad to reach the top!
You’ll see a sign on your left mentioning Roach End. We took the stone path up the hill which lead us onto The Roaches, a 395 hectare Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Roaches is an amazing place for wildlife, where you can see curlew, red grouse and tree pipit as well as the resident peregrines. As this is a SSSI dogs must be kept on a lead so they don’t disturb the wildlife.
We followed the ridge of The Roaches along to The Roaches trig point, which is nestled in and amongst the magnificent gritstone rock formations. There are so many to explore on here! This was the busiest trig point of the day, with there being a bit of a queue for people to take a photo of it.
A quick rant about ‘trig point etiquette’ – if you get to a trig point, and see a queue of people behind you, please don’t lounge about all over the trig. Take your photos, and then move away so the next people can get theirs. Sort your bags out and eat your banana somewhere else!!
After the wait for a young guy and an older lady to move out of our photos, we headed off towards the Doxey Pool where a mermaid apparently lies in wait, ready to lure you to your death. She didn’t catch us, thankfully, and we climbed down the steep scrambly south-east side of The Roaches without incident.
Crossing the fields, we then headed up the steep side of Hen Cloud. This is a smaller version of The Roaches at 410m above sea level, and was much quieter than it’s big sister. After a quick stop to look at the amazing views from the top of Hen Cloud, we clambered down the east side and headed into the woods for a picnic lunch on a rock.
The path wound through the woods then back out onto the moorland, before heading up through some fields into a farm yard. We followed the stony track out to the start of a driveway to Roaches Hall, however this is private and the footpath takes you through a small gate and through farmland, past a ruined old barn.
We followed the path up the hill (handily sign posted to Naychurch Farm) and met possibly the cutest dog in the world, Vi, and her owner. Here the OS map will tell you to go through the farmyard but there is a concessionary path marked with red topped sign posts to follow which skirts around Naychurch Farm. There are signs up advising of this.
The path will lead you out onto a road, and after about 30m there is a footpath heading up onto the moorland towards Ramshaw Rocks. We climbed up the hill, exploring the amazing rock formations along the way, before reaching the summit of Ramshaw Rocks which has amazing views over the moors towards Merryton Low and back over to The Roaches. This is a much quieter version of The Roaches – we didn’t see anyone else while we were here.
After we had a clamber about on Ramshaw Rocks, we followed the path down across the fields to the road near Stake Gutter Farm. Crossing the busy Leek Road, we then set off along Blackmere Road towards Merryton Low trig point. The rest of our walk was on the roads now, so we were able to make up good time.
Interestingly this walk skirts around the land owned by the Ministry of Defence which is used as a firing range. You can access the land, but not when the red flags are flying. We didn’t have time to explore unfortunately as the car park closed at 6pm and we needed to make sure we were back to the car! We’ll see the abandoned tank next time.
Merryton Low is the name of the Ethel but Blake Mere is the name of a pool of water nearby, so confusing the trig point is known by both names. The Blake Mere trig point is situated a short walk from the roadside and has a memorial plaque, dedicated to the Home Guard in the Second World War. After we had take photos of the trig point, we set off back along Blackmere Road towards the village of Thorncliffe.
At the phone box, we turned down Thorncliffe Road and walked past the Anzio Camp before reaching Leek Road again. We crossed the road and set off down Blackshaw Lane, back to the Tittesworth Reservoir car park. It turned out we had made such good time marching on the roads that we had enough time to have a well earned drink in The Lazy Trout, and we got to see a beautiful Peak District sunset.
This walk was a great training walk for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge, with a couple of steep (albeit small) climbs. You can also check out some of the longer Peak District walks we’ve done too.
Gun Moor, The Roaches, Hen Cloud, Ramshaw Rocks, Merryton Low (Blake Mere) Walking Route:
Parking: Tittesworth Reservoir Pay and Display car park ST13 6AT – £5 all day parking. Closes at 6pm.
Facilities: Tittesworth Reservoir has toilet facilities and a visitors centre.
Walk Time: This took us 6 hours, with a stop off for a picnic lunch. The time will obviously depend on your speed and fitness but allow 6-7 hours.
Distance: 27.5km (17 miles)
Trig Points Bagged: Gun Moor, The Roaches, Blake Mere (Merryton Low)
Peak District Peaks Bagged: Gun Moor, The Roaches, Hen Cloud, Ramshaw Rocks, Merryton Low (Blake Mere)
Peak District Ethels Bagged: Gun Moor, The Roaches, Hen Cloud, Ramshaw Rocks, Merryton Low (Blake Mere)
The Roaches Walk Route Map: (click the image to download the gpx file for your device)