|The place to park is at Gladbach youth hostel or at the carpark three hudred yards back up the road. Go straight through the youth hostel grounds like you own the place, as the footpath goes this way you kind of do. Following the obvious path that is well trodden, with the sounds of a babbling brook to our right, bluebells up the hill to our left and the oh so welcome sound of Swifts circling about us, it should have been idillic, however I had brought both of the kids and they were all but at each others throats no matter how growly the voice I use, i'm beginning to wonder if they'll ever get on.
The path comes to the bridge over the river, twenty yards further on it meets with another and carries on under the name of the River Dane.
From the bridge its all up hill i'm afraid up to the big tree (you'll know it) up some more then the path turns right and takes us all the way to Castle cliffs rocks.
This, on my first visit to Luds church had me fooled as being the big gorge, especially as there is a gorge behind the rocks, and if you hadnt paid too much attention to previous information, you might be a bit dissapointed, its a really nice place, worthy of being a site on its own, but its not jaw dropping awsome. That strange face is saved for another five minutes, for just two minutes away the path branches, one carries on in the light of day but the other branches off into a low light abode of the fairies.
The entrance into this gargantuan grotto is quite small....at first, then it turns left and goes down all the way to the deepest part of the gorge, it often gets quite muddy here. If memory serves this is also diectly below where the wooden statue used to be. The walls (if your looking down ...cliffs) are totally sheer and barely six feet apart, but whilst your wondering and wandering down this twenty meter stretch
you soon get to the corner, the kink in the serpentine, and then your jaw drops.
The gorge stretches away into the distance, it's difficult to guage how far it is, the walls are so high and steep and the far end is a lot more narrow than this end, almost like one of those optical illusions.
Not far infront of us is a young art student painting the scene, we have a nosey and decide he isnt bad, but then he has a captive and very showy muse. We pass him by hoping not to get included in his painting and start to climb, nothing strenuous or testing but it is a bit slippy.
Now the gorge splits in two, the left junction is a tight and dark squeeze to who knew where, the right junction has stairs carved into it and light is pouring through the narrow gap, I go this way the kids go the other way, and for a while it goes super natural, not supenatural just nature being super. I stand blinking in bright sunlight, a light oasis, the gorge opens and widens and in this light oasis plants just go for it, everywhere you look there are plants, ferns and mosses mostly but when they're evereywhere it's just stunning.
Further on the gorgre begins to peter out untill it completely stops. I get out and walk above it all trying to get a good look into the church, it's quite impossible though, the bushes and undergrowth grow right up to the cliffs edge, I really wouldnt want to stumble upon it this way.
Only back at the entrance and above can you look down into it.
A thoroughly beautiful and well hidden jewel, well worth the walk and bickering kids, who still havent stopped now.
Posted by postman
9th May 2011ce
Edited 10th May 2011ce