Bream Heritage Walk

45 – Brockhollands Village

From the stile, look down the road to the bottom of the hill. This is where the Tufts Brook flows. The brook is making its way in a north-easterly direction to join the River Lyd near what was once called Tufts Junction.
When the mines were in operation, a tramway called Dykes Tramway ran alongside the brook – also heading for Tufts Junction – where iron ore could be transferred into branch-line trucks. The iron ore was mined from South Oakwood Iron level.

Overhead tubs
By Arvid3D – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia link to photo

The above image is for the purpose of illustration only and is not the tramway described below.

An unusual alternative transport running along a broadly similar course is described in a newspaper article from 1871. It tells of a Mr Cutherbertson who ran Devil’s Chapel iron mine. He set up a wire tramway 1 1/4 miles long. It carried 150 tons per hour of iron ore transported in ¾ ton buckets on an endless rope 30 feet above the ground. The rope was driven by a portable steam engine. The article goes on to say that considerable amusement has been afforded by the “red miners” transporting themselves along the aerial passage in the iron buckets.

Looking up the hill, the woodland on the left is private woodland of Pastors Hill Farm. Beyond that, on the ridge, is the Lydney to Bream road separating Pastors Hill from more private woodland at Devil’s Chapel.
Brockhollands, small as it is, once had a village hall, originally the Miners’ Welfare Hall. It contained a snooker table and a youth club met here. Dances were also held from time to time.

Roy Coldrick a former resident recalled:

… the bungalow here on the corner started life as a house from where Grace Thorne ran the village shop before it closed. The Sewells then opened a shop in the front room of their house next door . It was also where Wilf Sewell ran a ‘Ferning Business’. This provided holiday income for the youth of the village. We would go off to the woods during the first two weeks of August and collect ferns. These would be bundled into groups of 20 and we were paid in 25 bundle lots. The family would then preserve them in the tin shed before spraying them in attractive colours to sell for decoration … At some stage during the late 1960’s or early 1970’s this house had it’s top floor removed and this became the bungalow it is today.

Roy Coldrick
Examples of decorative fern.
Examples of dried fern sprayed for decorative effect.

Roy also explains how his family came to Brockhollands:

They came from Bromyard where Wilfred Coldrick was employed in the building business. He was employed by a company who had consent to build a number of houses at Brockhollands. He was the foreman in charge of the project and while some of the houses were built, the company went out of business long before the whole project was complete. I have a copy of the plans which show that, had the building continued, Brockhollands would have had up to a hundred houses more. The field in front of Knox road, on the valley side, would have been filled with houses and the field beyond Paisley would also have been full of houses. In fact one house was built in that field and I believe that it housed the Rosser family at that time. Since then that house has been demolished I think. Knox road was shown on that original plan and was probably the only other houses built and named according to the plans.

Roy Coldrick