Central England – The Roaches, Staffordshire
Distance: 13km/8 miles
Where: Circular walk in the Staffordshire Moorlands, near Leek.
Start/End: Tittesworth Reservoir Visitor Centre (SJ993602).
Terrain: Lanes, paths and farm tracks, which can be muddy in places. Several modest climbs on an undulating route, with some sheer drops along The Roaches.
Maps: OS Explorer OL24; Landranger 118 & 119.
One of Britain’s rarest naturalised animals ekes out a living at the fringes of the Staffordshire Moorlands. Rarely glimpsed over recent decades, sightings over the past year or two have reignited interest in the plight of these invaders and add spice to an already inspiring ramble in these gritstone moors and vales high above Leek. Gentle ways on farm roads thread from Tittesworth Reservoir through verdant countryside, watered by the headwaters of the River Churnet, before steeper approaches rise towards the stunning escarpment of The Roaches a line of crags, cliffs and bluffs marking a sudden end to the Dark Peak’s south-western moors. Views are truly memorable and will detain even panorama-hardened ramblers, but always keep half an eye open for furtive shufflings in the deep heather. It may just possibly be a Bennett’s Wallaby, descendants of animals released from a private zoo hereabouts in the 1930s.
Click below to see a route profile and view the route on an Ordnance Survey map