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Sunday, 2 July 2017

Luds Church & Gradbach Mill

Only 3 of us this week, brother Rob was off looking for medals. We've been to Luds Church before but i just fancied having another look. So off we went up though Ashbourne because Via Gellia is closed due to a rockfall. We got slightly off track and had to turn back when we got stuck behind a herd of cows ambling along a single track road. We parked up just before you get to the old Gradbach Mill which was constructed in 1785 for the spinning of silk. Though the mill was water-powered and therefore cheap to run this was too remote a site for an enterprise like this to be commercially viable and the mill closed as early as 1885. It is now an up market B & B.
The footpath from the mill is clearly marked and winds its way along the river and then uphill into the woods. We stopped off at a rock formation giving lovely views over the Dane Valley before heading off up and into the chasm that is know as Luds Church.

Lud's Church is an immense natural cleft in the rock on the hillside above Gradbach, in a forest area known as the Black Forest. The feature has been formed by a landslip which has detached a large section of rock from the hillside, thus forming a cleft which is over 15 metres high in places and over 100 metres long, though usually only a couple of metres wide. Over the ages this place has offered shelter to all sorts of renegades and there is a tradition that Robin Hood used it. However, it is fairly certain that the Lollards (followers of John Wycliffe, an early church reformer, who were condemned as heretics) used it as a place of worship in the early 15th century, giving the place its current name. The church also acted as the model for the 'Green Chapel' in the classic mediaeval poem 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'

This weeks route from Gradbach to Luds Church

Hollins Hill on the left and Chrome Hill on the right

Traffic hold up


This is another Black Brook

Ike & Geoff

Views over the Dane Valley

Entrance to Luds church

Geoff snapping away.

Geoff, Ike & me


Black Brook meets the river Dane

Ike & Geoff



Gradbach Mill

The leat that took the water to the mill now overgrown

Unusual water trough on the approach to Gradbach Mill

River Dane next to the car park.

A cracking little walk just over 2 1/2 miles and worth the 1 hour drive to get there. The former silk mill which was recently a youth hostel is now an up market B & B and has been refurbished to a very high standard. The whole area of the mill including a cafe is really nice. 
Luds Church is an incredible place and these photo's do not do it justice at all. It has its own micro climate and has ferns, mosses and has a primeval look about it. I can understand why it was picked a s a place of worship.
See you next week.

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