It is regarded as an excellent example of a semi-natural ancient woodland.
Historically, a number of areas in Dean Wood were quarried for sandstone and evidence of the quarries can still be found alongside the public footpaths through the wood.
On 12 July 1857, Abraham Todd was caught felling a tree in the wood by Beaumont's gamekeeper George Taylor. Brought in front of the magistrates, Todd claimed only to have cut off a branch but was found guilty and fined a total of 13s. 6.
In May 1890, barber Herbert Gledhill and millhand Samuel Cousin, both of Netherton, were charged with stealing hazel underwood from Dean Wood on 23 April. The pair were found guilty and fined a total of 7s. each.
Most of the wood is now owned by Kirklees Council, although parts remain are in private ownership. The Friends of Dean Wood help maintain the various public footpaths.