Luds Church, Gradbach
You are almost on the edge of nowhere – in an area known as The Black Forest - at the point where the Westerly Pennines slip anonymously into the Cheshire plain. Nearby are places with names such as Wincle, Wildboarclough and Longgutter. Here is Luds Church (map ref 987656) – you will have to look hard to discover it. Often when I have taken friends to show them this strangest of places I have had to search again and again for the hidden entrance.
This is where they say the Lollards (condemned as heretics) hid out in the 14th Century – and it is easy to see why. Who would ever find this place without a map and a knowledgeable guide? Books will casually remark that Luds Church is ‘worth a diversion’. It is worth much more than that. Luds Church must be one of the weirdest and wonderful of places and deserving of more than a throwaway nod.
This natural cleft is over 100 yards in length and in height over 20 yards high in places. Here the light of day rarely reaches and damp mosses curl down from the walls. If you stop and listen, even on the sunniest of days, it is possible to hear the drip and drip of water from the ferns which cling to the sides of this cleft. Perhaps of greatest significance is that this spot has been identified as The Green Chapel – the very place where Sir Gawain met and battled with the Green Knight one new year’s day long ago.