The Roaches walk is iconic to Staffordshire’s Peak District. Standing on the top of The Roaches on a clear day, the views spreading out across Tittesworth Reservoir, Leek, and far beyond are very impressive. Plus, there are boulders galore for kids who love to climb, and is a popular spot for organised climbing clubs.
The footpath along the top of The Roaches to the trig point can get busy, but the second half of this short circular Roaches walk is much quieter. The terrain is rock and uneven underfoot, and there’s also a boggy section too, so wear appropriate footwear. Also, as this is a Peak District tourist hot spot (and understandably so), aim to arrive by 9am to secure a parking space (and only park in designated parking areas).
You could also combine this walk with our Lud’s Church walk. Combining the two walks into a Roaches and Lud’s Church walk makes a total distance of 12.6km.
If you are planning a visit to the National Park, please arrive early or late in the day to avoid crowds. Please also take all litter home with you, don’t bring BBQs and park your car in designated parking areas. Also, please use these walks as a guide; access and stiles may change.
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Before you head out on your family hike this winter, please read our guide: Safe Winter Walking Tips
Do check out our top tips for hiking with young kids, as well as our essential items to take on a family hike in the Peak District.
The Roaches walk map
On all Peak District family walks it’s a good idea to have an Ordnance Survey paper map with you, even if you have your phone on you. For this walk you need the OS Explorer Active Map OL24 (White Peak). It’s also a good opportunity to show young kids the map features and get them started with map reading.
This Roaches walk follows a clockwise direction starting from The Roaches UKC Parking.
Need to know
DISTANCE OF WALK: 5.5 km
TYPE OF WALK: circular, escarpment walk
PARKING: Parking at The Roaches UKC Parking. Click here for location on Google Maps, postcode is ST13 8UA. This is essentially a free layby and does get very busy, so aim to arrive early in the day.
WALK HIGHLIGHTS: Views, views, views! Plus The Roaches trig point, Doxey Pool, and LOTS of opportunity for kids to climb on rocks and boulders.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE: Without kids, this is a 1.5 hour walk, but allow at least 3 hours for exploring with young kids.
TOTAL ASCENT: 245 metres
ACCESSIBILTY: Not pram or wheelchair friendly. Steep climb at the beginning of the walk. Rocky and uneven underfoot in places.
FACILITIES: There are no public toilets on this walk.
This Roaches route description follows the above OS Map in a clockwise direction.
START: The Roaches UKC Parking
1. From the wooden gate at the footpath sign, follow the footpath up on the right, steadily up hill.
2. After 100 metres take the footpath on the left, continuing up hill to a drystone wall. Continue following the footpath to the left, keeping the drystone wall on your right, to reach another wooden gate.
3. Go through the gate on your right and continue straight ahead, climbing further up hill – this section is quite steep, but there are steps to help. There is a good area for the kids to clamber over rocks to the left of the path.
4. Once you reach the top, take a left and continue along the footpath with fantastic views over to Tittesworth Reservoir on your left and the escarpment on your right. Just a short way along is another fantastic area for kids to climb on the boulders – you may be here a while!
5. The footpath meets a T-junction. Take a right steeply up hill for 70 metres. Then take a left when you reach the top.
6. The walk along to top offers incredible views. Do be mindful of little ones though as there is a steep drop off the edge! After 370 metres you will arrive at Doxey Pool (where mermaids are said to live!) Then 1.2 km on you reach The Roaches trig point!
7. From the trig point here you could continue onwards for 850 metres and join up with the start of our Lud’s Church walk. However, for this Roaches walk, turn back around and retrace your footsteps for 830 metres until a turning on your left. The turning on your left isn’t entirely clear and isn’t signposted. You will find it to the left of the stone steps shown in the photo below.
8.Follow the path along to the wooden fence and then you can see the footpath leading downhill to the left. The path down can get rather boggy in wet weather, so take care. This is a permissive footpath marked as an orange dotted line on your OS map; it is not a right of way but the land owner has given permission to cross their land.
9. This footpath brings you out to a tarmac lane. Take a right, across a cattle grid (although there is a wooden footpath gate to the left of the cattle grid), and take the Public Footpath on the right.
10. Before you get to the farm, there is a detour footpath to take you around the buildings. Take this rather than walking through the farm. Continue over the next wooden stile and follow the footpath signs, veering around to the left. Then at the next wooden stile, veer around to the right.
11. This leads you to a lane. Take a right through the gate (please make sure you close this securely behind you) and continue along the lane. After 500 metres there is another wooden gate on your right, continue through here along the footpath. Eventually Hen Cloud, Tittesworth Reservoir, and The Roaches come back into view (looking from left to right).
12. Continue the path straight ahead. At the signpost to Hen Cloud (you could take a detour here), continue straight ahead signposted ‘Meerbrook’. Go through the wooden gate and then follow the footpath back to the road where you started this Roaches walk.
After your Roaches walk
Tittesworth Reservoir is just a 9 minute drive away. Here you’ll find a fantastic playground which has two separate play areas for different ages, a zip line and sand pit. It’s one of the best playgrounds in the Peak District. There’s also plenty of picnic benches, a take-away café and the Waterview Restaurant.
And if your kids still have energy to burn, there are lots of little walking trails here, including our 2.8km pram friendly Tittesworth Reservoir walk.
Peak District Kids is a free online resource. If you enjoyed this walk, you can show your support by buying me a coffee. Thanks so much! You may also want to share your own photos of this walk in our Peak District Kids Facebook Group.
Or visit the Peak District Kids shop. £1 from every sale of the iron-on patches goes towards the Peak District National Park Foundation, a registered charity established to raise funds to care for The Peak District National Park.