Before we leave the magic of Lud’s Church completely behind, we ought to consider how such an extraordinary feature came to be. Of course, there is a folk tale involving the Devil making a giant gash in the earth with his finger nail. More logically, can you find any signs of erosion, by water for instance?
This in no way looks like one of those small, water eroded cloughs. In fact, there is no sign at all that a stream has ever run in or out of here. For the record, Lud’s Church is around 17 metres deep and 100 metres long. The sides may be jagged, but they are straight drops of gritstone, draped with cushions of soft moss. There is not much of an eroded look about them.
Think back to the wider picture, though. The River Dane managed to find a passage through the hard gritstone wall of the Roaches somehow. There must have been a weakness. In fact the gritstone of this whole area is traversed by numerous ‘faults’ – cracks inside the rock. These run northwest to southeast, just as Lud’s Church does.
Where the bed of gritstone dips to the north, into what is known as the ‘Goyt Syncline’, a large mass of it simply cracked away. The rock slipped downhill a few metres, breaking along one of these fault lines. This sudden movement under the force of gravity opened up the chasm as we see it today.