6 May 2015

Chasm

Coins pressed into a fallen tree in Lud's Church
West of Sheffield. Over the hills. To Bakewell and then on the back road to Monyash. Still westwards into Staffordshire at Crowdecote, over the River Dove and on to Longnor. Lovely countryside but we still weren't stopping. We were heading for Roach End and that's where we parked. May Day Bank Holiday Monday.

Boots on, we set off to to the northern slopes of The Roaches - an area known as Back Forest even though there are few trees of any note there. But it's an area that holds a secret - a natural chasm, a cleft in the earth known as Lud's Church.

It's about twenty metres deep and no more than two metres across and with a right angled bend in it, the cleft is almost a hundred metres long. There mosses and ferns grow, the rock faces drip and sunshine hardly ever warms the place. 

You could easily walk right by it and miss it but of course people have known about Lud's Church for hundreds of years. It was once a hiding place for renegades and one legend says that it was one of Robin Hood's lairs. It also may figure in the tale of Sir Gawain and The Green Knight as The Green Chapel.

The name of the "cave" may come from the Celtic god Llud, or more likely from Walter de Lud Auk, a fourteenth-century follower of John Wycliffe, an early church reformer who held illicit services here far from the prying eyes of the authorities. These followers were known as the Lollards and it is likely they were responsible for carving the steps that lead visitors out of the chasm.at both ends.
We explored it though other visitors were there on May Day rambles.. It would have been nice to have it to ourselves. There was a fallen tree limb at the bottom into which people have pressed hundreds of coins. A man said that these coins were gifts to some long forgotten pagan deity so I took a five pence coin from my pocket and pressed hard.

On the way home, we called in at Flash - the highest village in Great Britain with the highest village pub and the highest village church. Then on to Buxton and Chapel-en-le-Frith and then home via The Hope Valley.

It wasn't Copacabana Beach or The Parthenon or Sydney Opera House or The River Nile, it was Lud's Church in Staffordshire but I am glad that at long last we have been there and seen this secret corner of England - a groove in the earth that speaks silently of those who were there before us.
Shirley leaving Lud's Church

16 comments:

  1. Well, that is the real, true-blue money tree! See! It does exist after all!

    What a wonderful area. Thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. I made a wish for world peace and for the end of all diseases and for Hull City to stay up in The Premiership and for Adrian to give up smoking and for Labour to win the British general election and for the dodo to return.

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    2. Try wishing for the possible next time and hammer a two pound coin into the log.
      I'm surprised you didn't take a few coppers in change or take the log. Couldn't you persuade Shirley to carry it?

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    3. She's from Lincolnshire and doesn't understand my innate meanness...

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  2. Breathtaking!! Shame it's not closer to Ripon, or else I'd make this a definite entry on my list of places to see when I'm in Yorkshire in August.
    By the looks of your pictures, even on a day like May Day, it doesn't seem to have been too busy.

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    Replies
    1. I would guess that mid-week you really could be on your own there. I will return one day and do some more walking in the area. Then it will just be me and "the green knight".

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  3. You did well getting pictures as good as these down there.
    5p hadn't you anything smaller?

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    Replies
    1. Thank you oh Lord of The Photographic Image!
      And you got me on the coin! My heart sank as I searched my sporran vainly for half a groat. After all I am Yorkshire through and through!

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    2. I tell folk who think the Scots are careful. " Wait till you meet a Yorkshireman".

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    3. Most Scottish people I have ever met are wasteful spendthrifts. Nicola Spongeon and XL Salmon are prime examples.

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  4. Not sure pagan deities exist. You should have taken a few coins home with you instead :)

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    Replies
    1. Have you not heard of the old Norse god Brian? God of The Remote Control.

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  5. Lud's Church. How beautiful.
    Lollards - is that where the expression 'lolling about' comes from Sir?

    Ms Soup

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    Replies
    1. Yours is an interesting question Alphie. The term "lollard" is a strange one isn't it? Originally a derogatory term, derived from a Dutch word meaning ‘mumbler’, based on lollen ‘to mumble’.

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  6. What a beautiful mysterious secret corner. I like the log with the coins pounded in to it, the narrow gorge, and the legends associated with the place.

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