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The Roaches Walk: Great Hike in the Peak District

by Natalia
View of the Tittesworth Reservoir from the top of the Roaches Peak District

Last Updated on June 21, 2022 by Natalia

The Roaches walk leads you along this impressive rocky ridge in the Peak District, offering some stunning views of the surrounding area. There are a few different walking routes to enjoy at The Roaches, from short visits to long hikes extending beyond the end of the ridge. One spot not to miss on your visit is the eerie Doxey Pool – which according to legend is one of a few pools in the Peak District which is home to a mermaid. Find out everything you need to know before you visit with this guide to the Roaches walk and Doxey pool in the Peak District.

Looking for more things to do in the Peak District before or after visiting The Roaches? Check out our list of easy Peak District walks!

The Roaches Walk Parking

There is a reasonable amount of free parking available near The Roaches walk, but due to the area’s popularity it can still be hard to find a space. If you visit early in the day you should be able to find parking relatively easily, but if you arrive from late-morning onwards then you may struggle.

The closest car park is the Gradbach Car Park, which offers free parking but only has around 20 spaces. If you want to combine The Roaches walk and Lud’s Church then the Gradbach Car Park is ideal, and is located at postcode SK17 0SU. Alternatively if the car park is full there is a farm nearby where you can pay £10 to park for the day, but we recommend utilising free parking elsewhere.

There is plenty of roadside parking by The Roaches in lay-bys along Roach Road, at postcode ST13 8UA. Listed as ‘The Roaches UKC Parking’ on Google Maps, parking is free but on our visit we were unable to find any space – so you’ll need to arrive early to get a spot.

The last option for parking at The Roaches is to park on the road near Shawside Farm. There are only a couple of spots where it’s possible to pull over and park along this single-track road, but in our experience you should hopefully be able to find space here.

Road close to the Roaches where you can park

The Roaches Circular Walk

There are a few different circular walking or hiking routes to enjoy when visiting The Roaches, and its easy to tailor the route depending on where you park and how far you want to walk.

If you park on Roach Road then you can enjoy a circular walk of The Roaches, visiting Bearstone Rock, Doxey Pool and Hen Cloud on your hike. To make it a proper circular walk then part of your route will be along the road, but alternatively you can just retrace your steps along The Roaches ridge instead of walking along the road. In total this route is likely to take around 2 hours or more depending on your pace.

The Roaches walk from the Gradbach Car Park will take longer, but allows you to walk through the impressive Lud’s Church with towering rock faces on both sides. You can then make your way to walk along The Roaches before retracing your steps back to where you parked.

If you want a shorter walk then you may want to only walk along a section of The Roaches before returning to your car, but whatever route you take you will get to enjoy some of the best scenery this area of the Peak District has to offer.

View from the top of the Roaches ridge

Alternative Roaches Walk

If you’ve parked on the road near Shawside Farm then you will need to take a different route up The Roaches, which comes out near the eerie Doxey Pool. From the roadside parking walk past the farm, shortly after which there is a bend in the road. To your right there will be a route that leads you up The Roaches.

The path isn’t particularly well marked, and if it has been raining then it can be quite muddy, but it’s still a relatively easy walk uphill to the top of the ridge. It should only take around 15 minutes to reach the top, and we recommend using maps.me (an offline map app) to make sure you’re following the right route up.

Turn left at the top and after a short distance you will reach Doxey Pool, and if you continue on further you will reach Hen Cloud. Walking in the other direction will lead you to Bearstone Rock, and if you continue for quite a while then eventually Lud’s Church too.

It’s easy to enjoy a short walk of The Roaches if you take this alternate route, but you can still tailor the length to suit your preference. If you have the time it’s worth walking the full length of the ridge, but if you only have time for a quick visit that works too!

The start of the alternative walking route for the Roaches in the Peak District

Doxey Pool

One of the highlights of a walk along The Roaches is the mysterious Doxey Pool, which legend says is home to an evil mermaid. According to the story a woman fell into Doxey Pool whilst walking along The Roaches on a foggy day, and has since haunted the pool and dragged passers-by into its waters.

Known as Jenny Greenteeth, or sometimes as the blue nymph, she supposedly rises from the depths to claim her victims if they stray too close to or into the pool’s waters. Sightings of the mermaid at Doxey Pool are unsurprisingly rare, although a woman by the name of Florence Pettit claims to have seen a weird creature emerge just before taking a morning swim back in 1949.

Stories also tell of another mermaid residing in the Peak District at the nearby Blake Mere Pool. Some claim both Doxey Pool and Blake Mere Pool are connected by an underwater tunnel, and both pools are said to be bottomless. Find out more by reading our guide to the Blake Mere Mermaid Pool.

The closest parking to Doxey Pool can be found along Roach Road, but if there are no spaces then try parking near Shawside Farm. Depending on exactly where you park it’s then around a 20-30 minute walk up the Roaches to reach Doxey Pool.

Doxey Pool in the Peak District on the Roaches

Tips for the Roaches Walk

Rock climbing – The Roaches is a popular spot for rock climbing in the Peak District. If you don’t have any experience then you can always take a course with the nearby Peak Climbing School whilst you’re in the area!

Ramshaw Rocks – The Ramshaw Rocks are located nearby to the Roaches, so it’s worth stopping off there too if you have the time. We only made a brief visit to Ramshaw Rocks but liked it so much that we put it on our list of best views in the Peak District!

Maps.me – As with most walks in the Peak District we recommend using maps.me, a helpful offline map app. Make sure to download the area’s map before you arrive so that you can access it without any mobile data, and then it makes the walking route easy to follow on your visit to the Roaches.

Wallabies – Five wallabies escaped from a nearby zoo during World War 2, and there have been several sightings of them in the area since. The last confirmed sighting of the wallabies near the Roaches was in 2009, but if you’re lucky you may spot one during your visit!

For other great spots to visit in the Peak District visit our articles on Stanage Edge and Chrome Hill!

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