As we were nearing the end of our holiday and the weather looked as though it would stay fine, Richard and I decided it would be a good idea to do another walk while we had the chance. We had made a list of the walks we wanted to do before we came on holiday and we had already walked in Back Forest and up Hen Cloud. Our third choice was a walk we had never tried before – along the top of the Roaches. Our book of local walks suggested a circular walk starting at Tittesworth Water, walking across farmland up to where we usually park our car for our Hen Cloud walk and then up from there to the Roaches. After descending from the rocks at the far end we would be able to follow paths and lanes back to where we left our car at the reservoir. Richard made us some sandwiches, I washed up and packed our rucksacks and we set out about 11 o’clock.
Tittesworth reservoir is a very short drive from our camp. We had been there before but only for a short visit about seven years ago. It has a visitor centre and people are welcome to walk all round the water and watch the many different types of wildfowl that live there. Boating is also a popular activity on the water.
We walked from the car-park to Meerbrook, a village next to the water.
I liked this mossy wall which surrounded someone’s garden.
I didn’t take many photos during the first half of the walk as it became quite hard-going shortly after we left the village. The paths were very overgrown or we sunk into deep mud. The local farmer hadn’t kept the ways clear and so it was difficult to follow the directions set out in our guide.
Honesty (Lunaria annua) A garden escapee that has naturalised all over the country.
Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris)
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
We found a man tying up a gate with binder twine and asked if we could use the gate to get to the path we needed. He said we could use the gate and then commented on the humidity of the day – nothing else. We walked on and found the way blocked by an electric fence which we had to crawl under – not easy for those like us who are past the first flush of youth. Getting up again is much more difficult than getting down on the ground. Why hadn’t the farmer/farm worker said anything about this to us? It amused him, no doubt. We had to pass through a farm yard next.
This old conveyor-belt caught my eye…..
and I liked the barn.
We then lost the path at the corner of a field and had to scrabble about for a while til we found what we hoped was the right way. We were discussing what our options were when, to our great surprise a man’s head popped over the wall above us and asked if he could help. It is a very strange thing to think that you are in the middle of nowhere and then find that a man is hanging out his washing in his garden right next to you! He was very helpful and we were on our way again. By this time we were very hot and tired as the way had been difficult and uphill all the way. Richard was getting annoyed and I had a great urge to laugh!
We had just entered the bottom of a steep field when we saw a muck spreader arrive and start its smelly work on the opposite side of the same field. It was a race against time for us to get to the top of the field before the tractor had worked its way over to our side. We knew that the driver would not have stopped his work just for us. Fortunately we just managed it in time but we were so tired! The main reason for this walk was to climb the Roaches and we hadn’t reached them yet. We had thought the walk across the fields would have been a pleasant preliminary but we had sadly been mistaken!
We were now at the base of Hen Cloud and decided that we would stop for a short while and have our lunch after which we turned and walked towards the Roaches. They, with Hen Cloud and Ramshaw Rocks, form a gritstone escarpment which marks the south-western edge of the Peaks. The Roaches consist of two edges – a Lower and an Upper Tier.
Crested Dog’s-tail (Cynosurus cristatus)
The Roaches are very popular with climbers.
This is Rock Cottage which is built into the rocks of the Lower Tier. It was formerly a gamekeeper’s cottage but is now a climbing hut.
A set of rock steps connect the Lower and Upper Tier. Richard is at the top.
The views through the trees from the top of the steps looking down and then upwards were very fine.
There were climbers everywhere.
These edges provide some of the best gritstone climbing in the country with famous classic routes such as ‘Valkyrie’, ‘The Sloth’ and ‘The Swan’.
These strange rocks have been weathered by the elements.
The pine tree is growing out from a crack in the rocks.
There was something of interest to look at whichever way we turned. Please click on the images to enlarge them.
Sheep are never far away in the Peaks.
I was surprised to see what I believe is Common Cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium) flowering this late in the season. It could be Hare’s-tail Cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum). Either way, their flowering time is usually April to May.
Tittesworth water away below us
A view of another escarpment in the distance
Doxey Pool is on the top of the Roaches. According to legend it is inhabited by a water spirit or mermaid known by some as Jenny Greenteeth. The pool is said to be bottomless and connected by an underground passage to another Mere or lake which also contains a water spirit. Doxey Pool is situated many hundreds of feet above any known spring. We didn’t see anything ‘unexplained’ while we were there!
View from the path
Richard is far ahead as usual
A selection of rocks.
Heather (Calluna vulgaris)
Richard standing at the trig point
The bench mark. Triangulation stations have now largely been superseded by digital mapping and aerial photography but many are kept because of their usefulness to hill walkers and because many people are so fond of them.
Yet more rocks!
Hello! says the sheep.
This is a cattle-grid (for those of you who don’t know). They enable traffic to use roads through farmland but stop the cattle from escaping from their pasture.
We left the Roaches and started to descend down through moorland and meadows.
We met a very friendly lamb.
Rosebay Willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium)
These drinking troughs that use spring water or little rivulets remind me of the picture of the spring bubbling out of the hillside in ‘Mrs Tiggywinkle’ by Beatrix Potter
I am not sure what this grass is and any suggestions would be much appreciated. It may be False Oat-grass (Arrhenatherum elatius) I apologise for the poor photos.
Some pretty vetch flowers. Probably Bush Vetch (Vicia sepium)
We walked past a field full of bullock calves. I can’t resist them!
They are so curious and playful ….
and have such lovely faces!
I don’t know what this plant is either. I tried to take photos of its flowers – pink-tinged white umbellifers – but none of them came out. The stems are purple and hairy and the leaves are quite distinctive. I thought at first it might be Cow Bane but that and Hemlock are hairless.
A Holly hedge (Ilex aquifolium)
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
We soon found our way back to the reservoir and then returned to our caravan. The following day was our last day and we had hoped to spend it sitting, reading and relaxing. Fate and farmers decided otherwise. The muck-spreading fever had taken hold and the field next to us was being fertilized. We couldn’t stay where we were so we returned to Tittesworth Water and walked around there and had some lunch. We amused ourselves for a while by watching some boys being taught how to row. There were about six boys to a boat and the group that we enjoyed watching most consisted of a couple of lads who did all the work and the rest just made a lot of noise. The two who actually did the rowing were on the same side of the boat so they went round in circles. In the end they had to be towed ashore.
The next day we got ready to leave but before returning home we drove to the station to collect Elinor who had been staying with Alice. They both seemed to have had a good time together but both were very tired and needed sleep. Our journey home was fortunately uneventful.