Great Wood Local Nature Reserve is one of the few remaining ancient woodland sites in Tameside and so it is of special conservation value. It makes a wonderful walk at any time of year, but especially in Spring. The easiest way to get into the wood from Broadbottom is by the path that starts across the bridge at the bottom of Moss Lane. Once part of the great Longdendale Forest, parts of the woodland are over 400 years old. Most of the trees are oak, but in places there are birch, alder beech and willow that add to the variety. Dead and dying trees are as important as live ones and the dead wood provided food and shelter for spiders, millipedes, beetles and fungi. In turn these are eaten by the birds and bats that live in Great Wood. In the clearings in the wood you will find wildflowers like bluebells, red campion and wood sorrel. You can explore Great Wood by using the paths that run through it, or you can follow the Great Wood Trail from Lymefield Visitor Centre
If you have been for a walk in Great Wood recently you will have seen that Tameside Ranger Service have been busy with saws, cutting down many small trees and a few larger ones. This is all part of a management plan which is opening up views, letting in light to encourage the growth of wildflowers and increase the numbers of butterflies and other insects.
One very important aspect of the work is that the foresters have left most of the cut wood on the ground. As this decays it will provide shelter and food for all sorts of woodland creatures; for example it will help provide food for the woodpeckers and nuthatches common in the wood. For this reason it is very important that people leave the cut wood. It may look like waste but it will serve a very useful purpose.