|I approached the site from the Southern side, having skirted around the sprawling towns of Stoke-on-Trent being carried along by 'The Curse of The Mekons'. The moorlands took over soon enough, and having left the car at a dead end, I walked along a cemented farm track and made my way over the ridge. Sign posts at this point reassured me that map reading skills were ok, because I had been doubtful. It isn't the easiest place to find. The path through Back Forest Wood is well trodden, suggesting a different approach may have been easier. This site appears to get a lot of weekend visitors.
Your first indication of Lud's Church is a warning sign, and a plea to stick to the designated footpath so as to avoid erosion of the site. Clearly this has not been heeded as a steep but well-worn pathway leads down the first cut, some ten yards before the steps which will lead you to the same place. The chasm just cuts into the ground, and from the wooded approach you wouldn't know it's there until you are upon it.
The gully leads you down and, at its deepest point, you are some 15 metres from the surface. It is absolutely still. No noise. Nothing. There is no-one here but me. The serenity of the place is awe inspiring.
Out the far end and onto a path which, upon exploration, led to Castle Cliff Rocks. This is a rocky outcrop on the valley side, giving plenty of opportunity to climb. I stood atop this and enjoyed the Spring sunshine while the occasional cock crow reminded me that I was still in the civilised world. It's an excellent place to hang out and picnic.
Approaching Lud's Chuch from this side, again no indication is to be had until you are upon the entrance; a cut into the hill-side. This leads you sharply down into the majesty of the gully. A cathedral like atmosphere pervades the whole place as I retread my steps, almost reverentially, towards the Southern entrance.
On returning to my car, I find it being investigated by some rare breed cattle, male, female and calf together. I come away hoping I have not been too obtrusive; to the cattle, to the chasm and to the countryside with which I have just enjoyed some holy communion.
Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros accompany me back through the towns and cities. I feel at peace with the world.
Posted by Howden
27th February 2003ce
Edited 27th February 2003ce