The Roaches is a gritstone escarpment, situated in the Staffordshire Moorlands and rising to a height of 1,657 feet. The name comes from the French les roches, meaning the rocks, and the ridge marks the south-western edge of the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park.
The whole ridge, along with other gritstone formations across the Peak, is the result of prehistoric river deltas which laid down sand and grit over the limestone sea bed. Eventually, these became covered over with mud and coal and then compressed over millions of years to form the harder gritstone rock. With the moving of the tectonic plates, England was pushed up out of this sea and erosion did the rest, leaving exposed edges and outcrops of the harder millstone grit.
At the end of The Roaches, separated by a col, is Hen Cloud, which rises steeply above the surrounding land, making a particularly dramatic statement and revealing the layering from when the first rocks were formed, around 300 million years ago.