8 Sep 2014

Lud's Church | Myth and Legend in the Peak District

In an effort to branch out from the usual places that we go for walks by default, we recently went to explore a place in the Staffordshire Peaks called Lud's Church.  Situated near Gradbach and The Roaches, in a wood called Back Forest, Lud's Church is a 15m deep and 100m long chasm of rock which cuts into the hillside.




It is an area steeped in history, legend and ghost stories and as soon as I stepped down into the cool, eerie gorge I could certainly see why.  Only a little light passes through the plants above and the temperature is cool even on a warm day such as the one when we visited. The rock is covered in lush ferns, moss and other shade-loving plants, which presumably contribute to the fact that it is deadly quiet, absorbing any echo that may have occurred and creating exceptionally odd muffled acoustics.  The only sound to be heard is the intermittent birdsong above and the faint sound of water trickling down the sides of the rock to the muddy floor below.



The 14th century Arthurian legend and poem of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight mentions a place called the 'Green Chapel', which is now thought to have been inspired by Lud's Church.  In fact Druids believe that the chasm is a natural church created by the earth itself. I completely understand why such a place would be used as inspiration for a holy place, as it has a certain stillness and peacefulness to it.

It has that It is also reported to have been used as a hideout for Robin Hood.



The story that gave me chills was about the origin's of the church's name.  In the 15th century it was used as a secret place of worship for people who were a part of an early church reformation, known as the Lollards.  The place was named after one such Lollard called Walter de Lud-Auk and it is said that his daughter Alice, was shot and died within the walls of the chasm.  Allegedly, a white figurehead of a ship was placed above Lud's Church in 1862 to commemorate her death, but has since rotted away.  There have been accounts of sitings of the ghost of 'Lady Lud', the name given to Alice after her death.





The forest and surrounding areas felt equally as intriguing to me as they shared much of the same feeling of stillness.  These sorts of spots where people like myself visit to explore, usually have some human noise like traffic, or people chatting, or something.  As we sat in the wood above the gorge to eat our lunch, it really hit me quite how quiet the place was.  It had this overwhelming feeling of being ancient and made me think of all of the books I read as a child about old woods and creepy forests, and how somewhere like this would have undoubtedly have inspired such stories.

Lud's Church is most definitely somewhere I would like to visit again and I really recommend it as a unique experience.


SHARE:

14 comments

  1. Gorgeous photos! That place is absolutely stunning! And the history behind it is really, really interesting.

    xx Mimmi, Muted Mornings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much :) Glad you enjoyed it x

      Delete
  2. Wow, it's stunning and steeped in all that history makes it even cooler. Beautiful pics and such a well told post.

    www.hollandsreverie.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your photos are so lovely! I hope I get the chance to visit Lud's Church one day! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :) You definitely should if you can, it is so beautiful x

      Delete
  4. I found this post really engaging. This doesn't even look like a place you'd expect to find in the UK at all, very cool though. I love anything to do with myths and legends and spooky stories and this was a very interesting read! Thank you for posting xx

    www.alphabeth.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, I'm really pleased you liked the post. It felt like stepping into another world for sure, such a strange feeling x

      Delete
  5. Wow, this looks like an amazing place, it reminds me of a place I used to go to with my family in Sweden, which was called the wolfs den (or something like that)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really was quite a special experience! That sounds awesome, I'd love to visit Sweden one day x

      Delete
  6. A gorgeous write up and great pic Anya.
    Rosie x
    www.rosedogandco.blogspot.com.au

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love that photo with the tops of the trees, a great angle to capture the tree!

    I love going further into the forest when we go, I like the quiet and stillness. But the chasm is quite eerie and huge!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a gorgeous place! I've never been to the Peak District before, but if it's that pretty, I seriously need to get myself down there x

    ReplyDelete

Blogger templates by pipdig