Start Location


SJ 9643 6522


10.0 km





My time

1 hours 12 mins

Dog Friendly



Woods, fields, rocky tracks. 99% off road

The Map

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Wincle is a beautiful little hamlet nestled in a valley on the banks of the river Dane. It boasts a marvellous public house called The Ship and an equally delicious brewery The Wincle Brewery. Wincle is the start of our adventure and is located on the border of South East Cheshire and Staffordshire in fact the river Dane forms the boundary between the counties.

The Route

The route comprises of a woodland river path, open fields, wooded climbs a dip into ancient history through Ludds Church, a strenuous climb up to Roach End at the eastern most point of the Roaches and a panoramic ridge to finish this stunning run.

  1. Start by running over the bridge across the river Dane and take an immediate left to follow the path along the side of the river. You quickly cross an open field and trot up to a stile where you enter the first wooded section of the run. Follow the path through the woods.
  2. As you exit the woods via a stile you’ll meet a track, follow this for a hundred metres or so until it bends uphill. You take the path to the left crossing the fields and tucking through the gorse. Simply follow this path until you cross a small stream and come up to Back Forest Farm on your left.
  3. Cross straight over past the farm and follow the narrow path downhill over a stile and into a field again. This path winds down towards the river again until you once again cross over another of those stiles into woodland meandering just above the Dane river down to your left. Km 3 is about half way through the woods.
    Dogs on the ridge from Roach End

    Dogs on the ridge from Roach End

  4. The path is soft under foot and undulates until a final sharp climb brings you to a turning on your right with a sign post.
  5. Take the path sharply uphill and slog your way up the rocky path that seems to go on for an alarming time until it finally pops you out at a cross roads of paths next to a large rocky outcrop on your left. This is approximately km 4.
  6. Two paths now head off to your left, take the higher of the 2 paths which is signposted Ludds Church, and follow this for only 300 metres. You are looking out for the small opening on your right which leads you into the dark crack in the rock which is Ludds Church. It’s fairly rocky and uneven under foot and we tend to walk through this section if only to soak up the atmosphere or this ancient place. Keep bearing right and you’ll scrabble out after about 200 metres blinking onto a path which is above Ludds Church (see below for further details). Turn left, you can’t actually turn right and follow this path through the woodlands for another 300 metres. Here you’ll encounter a junction and against your better judgement turn left. In another 50 metres you’ll see a path veering off to your right and now take this path. Approximately km.4.9
  7. The path trots through more woodland and finally splits at a junction. Km 5.6. The way you require dips down briefly and then climbs cruelly uphill on a rocky almost unrunable path. Once you have hauled yourself up the worst of this, you will feel the need to try and prove yourself by running up the last section as it opens out again and you can finally see the top of the run at roach end. The path follows a dry stone wall on your left and the way becomes sandy underfoot. At the top of this path you meet the road at Roach End on your left. You don’t actually go onto the road but you can see it over the wall. You want to climb up to the wall which runs along the ridge off to your right and frankly take a well deserved breather and admire the wonderful panoramic view. Km6.1.
  8. Now you reap the rewards of all that effort. Follow the wide gently sloping (downhill) track along the ridge, take in the views. Where the track splits at km 7.0 and a path goes downhill to the left signposted Swythamley stay high and make the most of the vista. After just over 1km on the ridge the path drops sharply down to a notch. (km 8.4) You need to go through the gate and follow the path downhill to the left on a rocky track that rounds a bend and pops out by a farm gate, go through the gate or over the stone stile to the left of the gate onto the track. Follow the track under the hanging stone until you reach a road. (km 9.0)
  9. Keep straight on over the cattle grid here on the track contouring under the hill. Now you need your navigation hat on, after 200 metres you are looking for a rickety stile on your left just above an old stone farmhouse. The stile leads into a field and downhill to a stone wall and another stile over into a larger field with some woods nestled at the bottom of the slope. You are heading to these woods where the fence turns a corner, but if you head directly down the hill you’ll find it, and yet another stile leads you into the woods and onto a path that now drops off at a rather alarming rate down through the woods, through a bog or two and eventually you’ll arrive rather wide eyed with burning thighs back onto the track by the river whence all this started. (km 9.8)
  10. Hang a left and emerge triumphant back on the road on the bridge over the Dane and to your waiting car. Now here you have 2 options, the Wincle Brewery is open 10-16.30 everyday of the week and has a lovely little garden where you can savour a fine beer and compare strava notes. Or you can cart your now rather tired bottoms up the hill to the fine Ship Inn and sit inside an perhaps also replenish the calories with a meal and a drink.


Lud’s Church

The astonishing Lud’s Church is a deep chasm created by a massive landslip in the rock.  Over 100 metres long and 18 metres deep the ravinie is mossy and overgrown, wet and cool even on the hottest of days.

Inside is dark, dank and mysterious, echoing of bygone days and secrets.  The walls are covered with dripping mosses, ferns and grasses.  You don’t need much imagination to picture Lud’s Church as a place of myths and mysteries.

The area has a place in Christian history: the Lollards, who were followers of John Wycliffe, an early church reformer, are supposed to have used this as a secret place of worship during the early 15th century, when they were being persecuted for their religious beliefs. However long before the arrival of the Lollards, it is likely that Lud’s Church would have been a place of pagan worship.

Sunlight really only penetrates to the depths of the chasm during the height of summer, and it is quite possible that it was the site of Midsummer ceremonies.

Whatever your beliefs, it remains that Lud’s Church is a fascinating place to explore, well worth the trip into the woods.