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Lud's Church

OS Grid ref:- SJ987656

Lud's Church, otherwise known as Ludchurch, is a deep, dank chasm in the White Peak, situated in an area known as the Black Forest, towards the southwest fringe of the Peak District National Park.

Lud's Church

The impressive cleft was formed by a massive landslip of rock on the hillside forming a dog legged chasm over 100 yards in length and 20 yards high in places. Dripping grasses, mosses and ferns cling to the vertical sides of the atmospheric chasm, it remains cool even on warm days and is wreathed in myth and legend.

Lud's Church, near GradbachLud's Church

There are a number of theories as to how the chasm was so named, one of which presumes a Dark Age origin.

Due to the phenomenon that only occurs on Midsummers Day, when the sun's light penetrates deep into the chasm, Lud's Church was considered to be a sacred place by the Ancient Britons. Lud, or Nud as he is known to the Welsh, was a Celtic god. Lud's Church was also the inspiration for the 'Green Chapel' in the anonymous fifteenth century poem 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Lud's Church Lud's Church

In the medieval period, the Lollards, followers of the fifteenth century religious reformer, John Wycliffe, used the ravine as a secret place of worship to avoid persecution by the Catholic church. Lollard's were considered heretics and burned for their beliefs. Lud's Church may have been named after Walter de Ludank, or Lud Auk, who was captured attending a Lollard meeting there. Walter's daughter, Alice, was tragically shot during a raid on a religious service, her ghost is said to haunt the chasm. A wooden ship's figurehead depicting the ship Swythamley was placed in a high niche above the ravine by the local landowner Philip Brocklehurst, to commemorate Alice, it came to be known as 'Lady Lud'.

Lud's Church has been associated with other historical figures, there are legends that such diverse characters as Robin Hood, Friar Tuck and Bonnie Prince Charlie used it to find shelter!

A walk to Ludchurch from Gradbach

Gradbach Black Forest, Gradbach Black Forest Black Forest

*Exit at the far end and follow the path back to entrance. Retrace your steps to return to Gradbach.

Follow the Country Code

*Be safe- plan ahead and follow any signs.

Protect plants and animals and take your litter home.

Keep dogs under close control

Leave gates and property as you found them

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