Spring is coming- so it’s time to swap your extra-thick-wooly-thermal Winter walking socks for slightly thinner ones and have an Easter walk up the Roaches!
With the days soon about to get longer and with better weather in sight, Spring is almost here. Even the mountain hares will shed their winter white coats in exchange for their usual brown attire.
Spring as a season is like a wake up call after a cold and windy winters hibernation. A much needed boost get for the Peak District national park. Let’s go exploring…
The walk this month will prepare us for the rest of the year. The Roaches in the White Peak District is accessible to many people, bursting with nature and involves walking on well trodden paths that are short in distance. You will not be away from your start point for long if a spring shower does occur.
View from Roaches of Hen Cloud
Heading west off the A53 Buxton to Leek road at Upper Hulme will bring you to the Roaches. A collection of gritstone outcrops which are well supported by local amenities such as tea rooms, bed and breakfasts, a bunk house and pubs. There is also camping facilities close by. Parking bays are obvious on the right side of the road.
As you start your walk to the top of the Roaches the paths are well marked and clear.
This is prime moorland terrain in between the popular towns of Leek and Buxton with plenty of history (The Don Whillans memorial hut owned by the British Mountaineering council) and places to stop and look at the flowers and views.
Walking the gradual ascent heading to Doxley pool you can look out afar to Cheshire and Jodrell bank or more immediately at the climbers on the gritstone. This is a popular venue for climbing, hence the Whillans hut providing basic accommodation for outdoor minded people. Common moorland birds start to come more obvious to walkers this month. The red grouse (lagopus scoticus) with its red eyebrow is quite territorial. The curlew (numenius arquata) with its curved beak and bubbling song, and the lapwing (vanellus vaanellus) with an almost wheezy voice and curved crest.
If you’re lucky you’ll spot a little mountain hare too!
The top of the Roaches is indicated by a white obvious trig point on flat land. Time for a photograph to prove you effort, justifying that extra piece of local cake.
Whilst you have been walking you may have seen a variety of colourful flowers and lichen bursting to life. Such flowers as Dog violet, Primrose, Lungwort and Thale cress are common and obvious as you walk this time of year.
Bilberry and Foxglove are still visible but are in disguise when compared to how we see them in later months. Cotton grass is a good indication of where to avoid putting your feet when heading back to the start, It indicates boggy terrain.
Looking at the rock as you walk you may see such lichens as Devil’s matchstick or Pixiecup are common. The red head of the Devils matchstick lichen catches your eye.
As you near your finish point for the walk, mosses are prevalent in the acidic peat terrain. Sphagnum, Starmoss and Feathermoss are to be found throughout all the seasons providing further beauty and colour to the moorland environment in spring. An interesting fact to share on your walk with others; Star moss (polytrichum commune) was used by the Maori in New Zealand for producing cloaks.
Once at your finish point you why not head to a local pub The Rock Inn or The Three Horseshoes or to the Roaches Tea Room. Well supported by local amenities and accessible to many, this area of the Peak District national park is great for a short adventure.
As a qualified Mountain Leader I will point out that appropriate clothing and footwear are important for all hill walking; simple preparation will let you enjoy your walk more.
The details and expertise of this walk were written by Matt Dawson, of Trekking Skills, who organise guided walks about all of the best bits of the Peak District & Derbyshire.
To book your walk, contact Matt on:
07792008862 or firstname.lastname@example.org