Want to put that ‘New Year, new me’ promise to the test by swapping Manchester city centre for a scenic walk in the great outdoors? Cure those January blues with an expedition for all abilities right on your doorstep.
The Roaches and Lud’s Church circular in Allgreave, Cheshire has all bases covered for a perfect Peak District adventure and it’s only about an hour away in the car.
This 10km hike takes around three to four hours and features everything from rocky scrambles up to exposed ridges to green woodlands leading through mysterious caverns. Winter can be the perfect time to get out there as well, so dust off your boots, wrap up warm and set off on an adventure only an hour away from the town.
The easiest way to access the starting point is via car, parking at The Roaches Tea Rooms. A small stroll up the road will take you to the beginning of the footpath with the jagged crest of The Roaches ahead. The 550m rocky ascent is the first and arguably most difficult obstacle of the entire journey.
You’ll see walkers and climbers alike gearing up at the base of the first striking ridge. Its unique rock formations are notoriously admired by climbers and made famous by Salfordian mountaineer Don Whillans who trained on the very rocks.
Once you’ve scrambled up through the cracks of the landscape, you get to soak in the views of Leek and the nearby Tittesworth Reservoir and the rolling moorland of the Peaks. Dotted along the horizon are grazing sheep amongst self-sufficient farmhouses that have catered for the land for decades.
As you continue along the open ridge, the elements can be pretty relentless, especially on a fresh winter’s morning. Check the forecast before you head off but we’d consider a hat and gloves mandatory!
Following the trail north, you will pass a series of small pools, only applicable to swim at this time of year if you are brave enough — or slightly insane. The most famous is named ‘Doxey Pool’, which has a historic and mysterious reputation.
In folklore, some say the small body of water is bottomless and is home to a malignant mermaid otherwise called a ‘blue nymph’. The creature was reportedly sighted emerging out of the tarn in 1949 by a woman on her morning swim although the sighting could never be confirmed.
Sadly, we didn’t see any mermaids on our stroll, so for now we’re calling it mythical nonsense.
Around halfway through the walk, the well-trodden route will lead to a cross junction showing signposts for Lud’s Church, where the scenery gets even more dramatic. They say what goes up has to come down, and the trail towards this 15th-century cavern takes you so deep through the woods you step into another world.
The entrance to the gorge takes you into a rocky cavern plastered in moss and ferns. Lud’s Church itself lasts only around 100m but there are a variety of different routes to explore.
We can’t think of many more walks as unique and scenic as this so close to Manchester.
The name derives from its use as a secret place of worship in the early 1400s for Lollards, a group of reformed Christians who were often persecuted for their beliefs. It is likely that the ‘Lud’ came from Walter de Lud Auk, who was captured at Lud’s Church during one of their meetings.
The circle back to the start begins as you exit the chasm with the latter half of the walk being much less physically demanding than the way there. Returning back to the cross junction, take the paved road which splits the face of Roaches Ridge to the left and the spanning views of the Reservoir to the right.
The leisurely downhill stroll should take around 40 minutes, passing more farmhouses, more sheep and on this occasion a few donkeys. Enough time before you get back to the car to decide which local pub to grab a roast on the way home. A rewarding end to a wholesome day.
If you’re looking for more scenic walking routes so close to Manchester that you can get there using public transport, we’ve got a load of great ones for you here:
Hundreds set to march through Manchester city centre to mark International Women’s Day next month
Hundreds are set to march through the streets of Manchester city centre to mark International Women’s Day next month.
The annual ‘Walk for Women’ has been confirmed for a 2024 return.
After returning to the city in 2022 from a two-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then proving to be a massive success once again last year, Manchester City Council has confirmed that the hugely-popular ‘Walk For Women’ is back in a couple of weeks time, and it’s expected that hundreds will meet to parade through the city centre in the name of equality.
The much-loved event is a celebration of the significant economic, political, and social achievements that women have made since they first won the right to vote just over 100 years ago.
Organisers of the annual event say the walk is a brilliant opportunity to come together with family, friends, colleagues, and likeminded strangers to share a passion for equality and creating opportunities for Manchester women.
A huge ‘Walk For Women’ will parade through Manchester city centre next month / Credit: Manchester City Council
Anyone planning on attending is encouraged to creatively chant and cheer, bring instruments along with them to bang and clang, create banners and posters to convey messages of support, and even prepare to belt out and sing-along to some musical performances too.
This year’s ‘Walk for Women’ is being held the day after International Women’s Day 2024 (8 March) on Saturday 9 March from midday to 2:30pm.
As always, the event is completely free to take part in, and everyone is invited to join.
Hundreds will meet to parade through the city centre in the name of equality / Credit: Manchester City Centre
The official route will begin on Mount Street behind Manchester Central Library, and then will make its way to Albert Square, before turning onto Brazennose Street and making a right to Deansgate – with the final stop being Manchester Cathedral.
The parade’s theme this year is called ‘Inspire Inclusion’, and is said to be a nod to the countless women from across all ages and backgrounds who have made “aspirational strides”, and continue to “trail-blaze through barriers” in areas such as galvanising women’s economic empowerment, forging access for women and girls to have quality education, and training and promoting creative and artistic talent.
Councillor Joanna Midgley, who is the Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said organisers are expecting an “even bigger and better” turnout for this year’s event.
Those keen to attend can register their interest for the parade now / Credit: Manchester City Council
“The walk around our amazing city is a celebratory moment for progress and women everywhere,” Cllr Midgley explained, “but it’s also a vivid reminder of the continuing work that needs to be done to challenge negative attitudes and obstacles surrounding women and girls.
“The support on this day is a pivotal reflection of all that has been done and all that is to come for women’s equality.”
Find out more about this year’s ‘Walk for Women’ on the Manchester City Council website here, and see all the road closures here.
Featured Image – Manchester City Council
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A rare Lowry painting is going on public display for the first time in nearly 60 years
A rare L.S. Lowry painting that hasn’t been seen in public for close to 60 years is set to go on display next month.
Talk about a monumental occasion, right?
The artwork in question, which is titled ‘Sunday Afternoon’, was thought to have been painted by Greater Manchester‘s most-famous artist all the way back in 1957, and pays resemblance to a lot of the other well-known works in his expansive and massively-celebrated portfolio.
As you’d expect from L.S. Lowry, ‘Sunday Afternoon’ depicts a densely-populated industrial landscape, which the Stretford-born figure often described as the “battle of life”.
‘Sunday Afternoon’ was previously sold at auction in 1967 for a “record price” after being obtained from the collection of Keith Showering – who was a former chief executive officer of Europe’s biggest drinks business, Allied Breweries.
A rare Lowry painting is going on public display for the first time in nearly 60 years / Credit: Smabs Sputzer (via Flickr)
And now, it’s set to go to auction once again in a couple of weeks time with auction house, Christie’s – which was founded in 1766, and was actually the auctioneers to sell the painting the first time round in the mid-60s – down in London as part of the Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale on Wednesday 20 March.
The auction house said the painting is expected to fetch somewhere between £4-6 million when it goes up for sale.
But not before it gets publicly displayed for the first time in 57 years, that is.
Speaking ahead of the highly-anticipated auction next month, Phillip Harley – who is the Senior Director at Christie’s, commented: “Sunday Afternoon by LS Lowry will return to the public eye at Christie’s for the first time since it was last seen here 57 years ago.
‘Sunday Afternoon’ can be seen by the public before it goes to auction next month / Credit: The Lowry Gallery
“This important painting has remained in the collection of Sir Keith and Lady Showering since 1967, offering a once-in-a-generation opportunity to acquire a work of this magnitude and scale. The composition represents the wonder the artist felt as he recorded his many observations of the evolving society around him.
“We are thrilled to bring Sunday Afternoon back to auction.”
Clients and visitors, alike, are invited to view ‘Sunday Afternoon’ when it goes on free display in London from 13 – 20 March.