Roachside Cottage

Part of the living landscape of the Roaches

Peak District National Park - Upper Hulme, Nr Leek ST13 8UB

Running Roachside Cottage means that there are very few days when we aren't committed to some task or other - changeovers, laundry visits, routine maintenance, shopping for supplies and, of course, litter picking 4 times a week.

Today however, the only thing in the diary was to deliver a friend to Manchester Airport before dawn. That left us with a whole beautiful autumn day to wander about ourselves.

A good old stomp through the calf-deep fallen leaves at Alderley Edge, a fabulous breakfast of scrambled eggs & smoked salmon sitting in the early morning sun at the Wizard Tearoom (how often can you do that in November!), then a short hop over to our beloved Goyt Valley for a walk round the reservoirs to see the views opened up by recent tree harvesting.

All the while, running through my mind was the line from Simon & Garfunkel's "Only livin' boy in New York";

........I've got nothin' to do today, but smile...........😊

This time of the year is when we see more cloud inversions than any other.

On the way over to Leek this morning, we caught this rather splendid sight of Gun Hill and the Roaches beyond, sitting in a sea of fallen clouds.

I know it's only billions of droplets of water floating about in very slowly moving air, but it certainly adds a mystical dimension to the landscape.

Another milestone for Roachside Cottage!

We just had our 100th consecutive FIVE STAR review on Air B&B

Need we say more?

We're "proper chuffed"

The winter months are when the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, as the managers of the estate, get to work on the pathways on the Roaches - when fewer visitors are about.

The popularity of our wonderful area and the thousands of booted feet it attracts has taken a toll on some of the more fragile parts of the moorlands and, with grant aid from the Peak District National Park, remedial action is being taken all across the southwest Peak.

Over the past three years or so, SWT and their volunteers have been "hardening" the path along the escarpment by paving it with rocks. This gives the legions of visitors a hard surface to walk on and reduces the tendency to stray off the route when ruts and puddles develop, thus protecting the adjacent vulnerable moorland from an ever-widening path. 

The rock used is primarily Roaches series Gritstone which, within hours of been set in place, becomes indistinguishable from the lumps and bumps of the outcrops along the edge. Indeed, I'll wager that 95% of our visitors never even notice that they're walking along an "engineered" path. 

I noticed that up along the flatter part of the route, by the Trig Point, they've lifted in some recycled stone paving which was almost certainly quarried a century or two ago at Teggs Nose, just a few miles to the north.

Anyone can volunteer - just contact SWT - it beats the hell out of a gym session!

Of course, to get the rocks up there in the first place requires a battalion of Sherpas - or a big noisy helicopter of course.....😉

Today is the Autumn Equinox.

The day when the supposedly languid days of Summer end and the theoretical chill of Autumn spreads across the land.

The darkness of the nights has now become longer in duration than the daylight of the day and will get progressively more so until late December.

As we headed home at Rudyard this evening, the setting sun underlit the tattered shreds of cloud left by a feeble weather front.

Time indeed for some Autumn poetry;

     Nature's first green is gold,
     Her hardest hue to hold.
     Her early leaf's a flower;
     But only so an hour.
     Then leaf subsides to leaf,
     So Eden sank to grief,
     So dawn goes down to day
     Nothing gold can stay.

     Robert Frost 1923


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