Hawk's Nest, Goldstitch Moss & Lud's Church

An exploration of northern Staffordshire that is rarely walked.

Technical sheet
No. 293208
A Macclesfield Forest and Wildboarclough walk posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Update : 21/08/16
Calculated time Calculated time: 5h20[?]
Distance Distance : 15.53km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 324m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 323m
Highest point Highest point : 413m
Lowest point Lowest point : 263m
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Peak District
Location Location : Macclesfield Forest and Wildboarclough
Starting point Starting point : N 53.19289° / W 2.00449°
Download : -

Description

(D/A)From the entrance to Gradbach car park, (Grid ref SJ998662) exit left. Then cross over the river via the footbridge and the meadows to the road ahead. Turn right at the road then left at the building. The path climbs straight up the fields following the wall on your left to cross a footpath to reach a bridleway (Grid ref 009675).

(1)By walking left on this bridleway you can visit Three Shires Head. If you want to miss out Three Shires Head turn right along the bridleway ignoring the first wide path to turn right down a narrow path just prior to Hawk's Nest (Grid ref 016674). This path drops down to the river which can be a problem to cross if the river is in flood. Assuming you are safely across, climb up to the path ahead to pass Far Brook Farm on your left. On reaching the road go right.

(2)Turn left at the next footpath. This passes a farm onto the moor with few footpath signs. Proceed in a southerly direction over the stiles and through wall gaps until you reach a barn, within sight of a road (Grid ref 016663). Turn right at this building to contour the hill then drop down to the road on your left (Grid ref 013663) following footpaths marked on maps.

(3)Cross over the road to take the stile ahead and down the steep hill to the river. Climb up the gully ahead joining a well defined path that takes you in front of a farmhouse to Green Gutter Head. Turn left through the mushroom farm and its buildings to the reach road.

(4)Turn right along the road, going straight on at the cross roads (Grid ref 012650) to join the farm road to Goldstitch House. Turn right at the house and follow the path alongside the river through the valley. The path is well defined and crosses over the river prior to climbing up through the bracken to the gap near Bearstone Rock and Roach End.

(5)Proceed up to the top of the path (Grid ref 995645) and turn right through the wall gap to follow the path along the ridge with excellent views over the Cheshire plains. Eventually the path drops down at the end of the ridge and you should turn right at this point and follow the good path descending to a group of large rocks.

(6)Here there is a finger post sign to Lud's Church. A dramatic deep cleft in the forest rocks 50 feet deep, steps lead into the chasm and it's well worth the visit. Return to the rocks and follow the path that descends through the trees to a bridge over Black Brook. Staying on this path follow the River Dane through the grounds of the Youth Hostel and up its drive to reach lane. Turn left to reach the start.

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 273m - Start: Gradbach car park
1 : km 1.8 - alt. 381m - Turn left to visit Three Shires Head
2 : km 5.53 - alt. 389m - Turn left at the next footpath
3 : km 6.66 - alt. 358m - Cross over the road
4 : km 7.46 - alt. 383m - Turn right along the road
5 : km 10.78 - alt. 406m - Turn right through wall gap
6 : km 14.12 - alt. 328m - Lud's Church
D/A : km 15.53 - alt. 273m - Finish: Gradbach car park

Useful Information

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

Starting from Gradbach Car Park, close to the YHA Hostel, this walk will take you to the rarely visited Quarnford area before visiting Lud's Church. Historic details about Lud's Church are quoted in Walk No 1178.

You can also visit Three Shires Head with its important packhorse bridge, widened to take the extra traffic of the pony trains. It is a lovely quiet spot. The 'Y' shape of the three rivers forms the boundary of Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire. Local folklore recounts of a man named Harry who used to make counterfeit money, selling it to travellers. When the police got wind of him he would cross over the river into the another County and so avoid arrest. He lived in nearby Flash, hence the name 'Flash Harry'. This extension adds 1.5 miles (2.5 km) to the route and another 300 feet (90 m) of ascent.

There used to be several Wallabies around Bearstone Rock and Roach End, originally escapees from a nearby private zoo, but they have not been seen for many years. However this might be your lucky day!

Other walks in the area

distance 6.8km Vertical gain +186m Vertical drop -175m Durée 2h30 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Macclesfield Forest and Wildboarclough - Cheshire

This Peak District walk explores the quieter side of the Staffordshire Roaches visiting the rocky cleft of Lud's Church before exploring the moorland and woodland of Back Forest. The views into Cheshire are excellent. Route finding is fine provided you take care when descending from Roach End.

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Starting point Starting point in Macclesfield Forest and Wildboarclough - Cheshire

A Staffordshire walk that explores the valleys and high ground to the west of the Roaches.

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distance 11.2km Vertical gain +211m Vertical drop -209m Durée 3h50 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Macclesfield Forest and Wildboarclough - Cheshire

A Peak District walk full of interest that visits Staffordshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire. The route is generally easy to follow and the highlights are the packhorse bridges at Three Shires Head, the quarries at Danebower and some excellent panoramas.

distance 13.14km Vertical gain +371m Vertical drop -365m Durée 4h50 Average Average
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A Peak District walk that includes counties - Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Cheshire. The route uses a mixture of paths, tracks and minor roads and also includes a section of the Dane Valley Way.

distance 10.33km Vertical gain +194m Vertical drop -195m Durée 3h30 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Macclesfield Forest and Wildboarclough - Cheshire

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distance 7.49km Vertical gain +166m Vertical drop -167m Durée 2h35 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Macclesfield Forest and Wildboarclough - Cheshire

A short Peak District walk that explores the area around Three Shires Head where the counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire meet. The route uses sections of old packhorse routes as well as footpaths.

distance 7.13km Vertical gain +192m Vertical drop -191m Durée 2h35 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Leekfrith - Staffordshire

The Roaches are a dominant feature of the North Staffordshire landscape and this walk provides a perfect introduction to this rugged area. An integral part of the Peak District National Park, this gritstone edge has superb views over the surrounding area.

distance 11.02km Vertical gain +360m Vertical drop -357m Durée 4h10 Average Average
Starting point Starting point in Leekfrith - Staffordshire

The Roaches are a popular place to walk offering dramatic views in this part of North Staffordshire. This walk includes Lud's Church a deep chasm that has some interesting historical connections.

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