Luds  Church
       
     
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Luds  Church
       
     
Luds Church

Lud's Church (sometimes written as Ludchurch) is a deep chasm penetrating the Millstone Grit bedrock created by a massive landslip on the hillside above Gradbach, Staffordshire, England. It is located in a wood known as Back Forest, in the Dark Peak, towards the southwest fringe of the Peak District National Park about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) west of the A53 between Leek and Buxton. Over 100 metres (328 ft) long and 18 metres (59 ft) deep, all but the upper third of the slope has slipped forward towards the River Dane It is mossy and overgrown, wet and cool even on the hottest of days.

Lud's Church is formed within the thick bed of coarse Carboniferous sandstone known as the Roaches Grit which here dips northeastwards into the Goyt Syncline. The rocks of this area are traversed by numerous roughly northwest-to-southeast-oriented faults and fracture planes. In addition, weak layers of mudstone exist within the sequence. It is along such lines of weakness that a large mass of the Roaches Grit bounding the northeast side of the rift has slipped slightly downhill into the Dane Valley resulting in the open rift. The age of the movement is unknown but is likely to be post-glacial.

The area has a place in Christian history: the Lollards, who were followers of John Wycliffe, an early church reformer, are supposed to have used this as a secret place of worship during the early 15th century, when they were being persecuted for their religious beliefs.Lud's Church may have been named after Walter de Ludank or Walter de Lud-Auk who was captured here at one of their meetings.

A wooden ship's figurehead from the ship Swythamley formerly stood in a high niche above the chasm, placed there by Philip Brocklehurst, then the landowner, around 1862. It was called 'Lady Lud' and was supposed to commemorate the death of the daughter of a Lollard preacher.

A number of climbing routes up the sides of the chasm were pioneered during the 20th century but climbing is now discouraged so as to protect the lower plants that have colonised the damp rock-faces.

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