‘The Roaches lie across the Staffordshire landscape like the jagged back of a giant dinosaur. They are a course ridge of hard red sandstone grit. The ridge extends for three miles at a height of some 500m, from the detached southern cone of Hen Cloud (steep hill in Anglo-Saxon) to Roaches End at the north end, where it descends to the eerie chasm of Lud’s Church and Hanging Rock.

The finest view from the Roaches is south-west over the Churnet valley to the Tittesworth reservoir, built in the 1960s. Beyond it lies the town of Leek with its prominent steeple. This is fertile country, stretching out towards the Cheshire plain with the uplands of Wales and Snowdonia in the distance.
The Roaches are one of England’s strangest places, one minute almost a playground, another a mysterious and frightening moonscape, reminiscent of Australia’s Ayres Rock’

Extracted from ‘England’s 100 Best Views’ by Simon Jenkins, to be published by Profile books in October 2013 (£25 hardback)

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