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Potteries Orienteering Club

West Midlands Orienteering Association

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First published in The Potter September 2005
Text © Copyright John Heaton 2005

Ramshaw Rocks


Due to access problems we have not utilised fully the area of The Roaches and its surroundings. Ramshaw Rocks is a small section of this area. Access to Ramshaw Rocks has always been comparatively easy and in the past we have held several local events there using an old 1:15000 map of the whole area. We decided early this year to re-map just Ramshaw Rocks as the final map of the series of maps part funded by our Lottery grant. Dave Peel produced the map at 1:10000, but we will print the map at 1:7500 which will neatly fill an A4 sheet and show much more clearly the complex rock features.

Mapping and Event History

The Roaches has been a very hard won area to orienteer on. In the early 80’s much time and effort was put into gaining access to the extended area. Looking at old files Cath Simpson in the main did a lot of negotiating which allowed Austin Farr to produce a map of The Roaches, Hen Cloud, Ramshaw Rocks and all of the intervening rough farmlands in 1983. At the time it was hoped to produce another map the area to the northwest called Back Forest but access was never gained. Since then the area available for orienteering on The Roaches has been reduced by the National Park management. Again looking at the old files John Pigott after about 1989 took charge of access negotiations and he has also been involved in every event bar one from that year.

Badge Events
November 1983 and November 1985
Colour Coded Events
October 1989 and October 1995
Local Events on Ramshaw Rocks
October 1990, August 1994, March 1997, September 1998

The next event will be on the new map of Ramshaw Rocks on Saturday 15th October [2005] and of course planned by John Pigott.

Geology and Geography

The prominent outcrops of millstone grit in the area are within a syncline of a steeply dipping rock formation. The gritstone is harder than the surrounding rocks; if you could see a 3-D image the strata would look like the hull of a boat, The Roaches forming the starboard side, Ramshaw rocks the port side, and Hen Cloud at the bow of this imaginary boat. The ridge of Ramshaw Rocks runs NE-SW, parallel to the A53 Leek to Buxton road. Just off the NE tip of the area of the new map is a pub called the Winking Man which derives its name from one of the rock formations below the ridge. From the road a face-like outcrop sticks out and a hole in the rock appears to wink as you drive up the road, caused by the rocks behind blocking the light through the hole. In the past the face was more realistic, but about 10-20 years ago he lost his nose. The other outcrops form some crags with very technical rock climbs, the proximity to the road making the area popular with climbers. The area covered by the map is about 500m by 2000m and is of course dominated by the 1000m long ridge to the south. The ridge drops steeply to the road in an area in which there are numerous rock features and pits. The NW slopes off the ridge are more gentle and are broken up by ditches and small areas of marsh. The northern half comprises mainly featureless gently sloped moorland and a small area of very rough pasture with many pits, contour and water features.

Flora and Fauna

Heather dominates and grouse are rare. The wallabies that once roamed but probably no more roam The Roaches probably ventured nowhere near the Ramshaw area. If you choose to take a drive up the minor road that borders the west of the map and eventually rejoins the A53 close to the Winking Man, keep a close look on the adjacent fields, some are likely to contain llamas.

John Heaton