Black Firs Wood
Know before you go
No public access
When to visit
Opening timesNo public access
Best time to visitNo public access
About the reserve
This 1.15ha (2.8 acre) woodland – gifted to the Trust in 1991 – is dominated by birch and oak underplanted with hazel, holly and guelder rose. The site has a circular footpath that is accessible for all, passing two ponds hand-dug around the year 2000 and more recently re-profiled in 2016.
The woodland is flat and lies on a thin covering of peat, over sand. Alder and willow can be found in the wetter areas. The site’s western boundary (the length of the original boundary) has been planted up with native hedgerow species, which include hawthorn, blackthorn and guelder rose.
In Cheshire much of our remaining ancient woodland is in narrow, steep-sided valleys known as ‘cloughs’. Cotterill Clough is one of Cheshire's best examples, and located to the west of Manchester Airport, this is one of our oldest nature reserves. It was purchased in 1934 from funds raised by public subscription for a memorial to T.A. Coward, a famous Cheshire naturalist (1867-1933).
Three distinct zones exist within the woodland. The first of these occurs on the plateau edge where the canopy is dominated by birch, pedunculated oak and sycamore. As you descend down the steep valley sides this grades into ash-wych elm woodland with a staggeringly diverse ground flora that includes ramsons, dog’s mercury, bluebells, wood anemone, lesser celandine and black bryony. Finally, the valley floor supports species more tolerant of the damper soil conditions including Alder and Willow species. Here the damp conditions allow ferns, mosses and liverworts to flourish alongside the flowering plants.
Regretfully, due to the unsafe nature of the site infrastructure and large amounts of standing deadwood that we would like to preserve, the reserve is now closed to the public.