Here is another major convergence of streams, adding yet more power to the River Dane as it carves its way down towards the Cheshire Plain. This is where Black Brook joins the river. Look in the water and we can see how Black Brook got its name.
If there has been a lot of rainfall, the water may look like strong tea, without milk. This dark brown colour comes from peat staining the water. Peat is found on the high moors where both the River Dane and Black Brook have their origins
Black Brook is fed on one side by water running down from the back of an escarpment called the Roaches.
This confluence meanwhile is generally regarded as marking the northern end of the Roaches. From another perspective, this is where the powerful Dane long ago found a thin line of weakness to break through the long ridge of hard rock. So, why wasn’t Gradbach Mill built here, to take advantage of the additional water power of Black Brook?
One answer is that for a good mile downstream there is simply no flat land to build anything bigger than a hut. In fact the Dane Valley narrows so much from this point, it’s not much more than a very deep clough as the river surges on through.
Take the footpath past the huge old beech tree, uphill, following the wooden signs to Lud’s Church for a few hundred metres. As the way levels out and you reach a sharp left turn, still signposted to Lud’s Church, turn off to the right of the main path to advance on the large outcrop of rocks.
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.