Breathtaking views, amazing wildlife, a place to explore - the gateway to Staffordshire’s Peak District

Location

The Roaches
Leek
Staffordshire
ST13 8UA
Leek
ST13 8UA (nearest)
A static map of The Roaches

Know before you go

Size
395 hectares

Entry fee

Free

Parking information

There is a small car park at Gradbach near the Youth Hostel and lay-by parking near Upper Hulme at Rockhall

Grazing animals

Yes

Walking trails

Whether you’re an eager climber, an enthusiastic walker or a keen naturalist, the Roaches offers something for everyone.

There are a number of public footpaths across the estate.

Please follow all on-site guidance.

Contact the Trust for disabled access information.

Access

Please follow all on-site guidance.

Pedestrian gates and steps present onsite 

Contact the Trust for disabled access information.

There is a small car park at Gradbach near the Youth Hostel

Dogs

On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

Stunning all year round!

About the reserve

On May 1 2013, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust began its 125-year lease of the Roaches, a magnificent 975 acre landscape on the edge of the Peak District National Park.  

As the new managers, we promise to:

  • Promote enjoyment and understanding of the Roaches and ensure it is a fantastic place to visit
  • Protect its unique and wonderful wildlife.
  • Offer opportunities for everyone to get involved  
Why is the Roaches so special?

Whether you’re an eager climber, an enthusiastic walker or a keen naturalist, the Roaches offers something for everyone. Its magnificent soaring rock faces and wild, heather-covered hillsides draw tens of thousands of visitors each year, and make it one of Staffordshire’s most photographed landscapes.

As well as being a popular place for recreation, the Roaches is an amazing place for wildlife. In fact, the area is protected both nationally and internationally for its wildlife and rare wild habitats. Designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and forming part of the South Pennine Moor Special Area for Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Area, the Roaches consists of numerous internationally important habitats including blanket bog and upland moorland. There are also many specialist breeding and wintering birds such as curlew, red grouse and tree pipit.

Our two volunteer groups will continue to carry out essential conservation work and improve visitor access on the Roaches. To register your interest or find out more, email info@staffs-wildlife.org.uk  

During your visit

For breathtaking panoramic views, climb the stone steps to the left of the stone cottage built into the hillside (Rockhall Cottage or the Don Whillans Memorial Hut), and walk along the rocky ridge. After a about half a mile you’ll reach Doxey Pool, a tranquil but allegedly haunted pool that is reputed to be home to a mermaid who lures travellers to a watery grave!

Alternatively, you could explore the less visited northern end of the estate, with its sheltered woodlands and the stunning rocky chasm known as Lud’s Church.

Keep an eye out for the resident peregrines as you explore. These large falcons are one of the fastest birds on the planet - reaching speeds of up to 124mph as they dive for their prey. They nest on the craggy rock ledges of the estate, and in April, May and June the Trust and the Peak District National Park Authority will be giving visitors the chance to get a close up view of the nesting birds with the help of the national park rangers and local volunteers. 

Other species to look out for include red grouse, a russet red game bird whose chuckling call ripples out across the landscape, and green hairstreak butterflies.  

Love the Roaches? Want to ...
Get involved?
  • Learn new skills, meet people, get fit and enjoy the outdoors by joining our conservation volunteer group. To register your interest or find out more, email info@staffs-wildlife.org.uk
  • Join us at a conservation or a family event  
Help us achieve more? 
  • Become a member of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. We’ll be spending around £100,000 a year caring for this special place, so if you love the Roaches, please join us from only £2.50 a month.  You’ll get a 44 page magazine three times a year plus info on loads of events, walks, talks and volunteering. Call 01889 880100 or visit www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk
A Living Landscape

'Living Landscapes' is The Wildlife Trusts innovative approach to nature conservation and involves focusing our efforts on improving the wider landscape to make it better for wildlife.  

Find out more here This nature reserve is leased from Peak District National Park Authority.

Contact us

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
Contact number: 01889 880100

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
Special Protection Areas (SPA)
Support us

The work on our Nature Reserves would not be possible without our members. Support us today.

Become a member