Castle Cliff Rocks is in effect the last formation of the Roaches, though we are many metres below the heights of the escarpment. A brief clamber on a few of these boulders is fun and will help you appreciate why the Roaches is a mecca for rock climbers. Please do take care here, however, especially in wet or icy weather.
This type of rock doesn’t crumble easily and offers a firm grip. Officially known as Roaches Grit, it is very hard sandstone. It formed from coarse sand washed down into a huge river delta during the late Carboniferous period, some 320 million years ago. This rock is a subdivision of the famous Millstone Grit found widely across the Peak District.
The stack here has survived because this is a particularly hard section of rock. It has withstood the eroding efforts of rain, ice and wind much better than the less durable material which must have once surrounded it.
If you climb carefully up to the furthest boulders, there is a fantastic view back up the valley. The Dane swings away to the left and you should also make out all those little cloughs, with their brooks converging on it from every direction.
Next, take the small path for about 100 metres towards Lud’s Church as indicated on the signpost. On reaching it, descend very carefully, as the rocks are always slippery.
This trail was originally developed by Simon Corble for the Royal Geographical Society’s Discovering Britain.
Simon Corble is a theatre director, playwright and actor based in Derbyshire’s Peak District, is passionate about the countryside and discovering the hidden secrets of the natural world.