17 – Oakwood Mill

From this point, the tramroad did not plunge down the slope to the bottom of Mill Hill, it actually went to the right and took a level path that hugged the hillside as it continued along the valley. You may be able to trace it in winter when the vegetation has died down.

Oakwood Inn

To the left at the bottom of Mill Hill the large house you see was once the Oakwood Inn, known locally as ‘The Mill’. This was a popular public house of the old style and contained a public bar and a ‘smoke room’ for the more discerning customers. Its tenants at the time of closing in 1969 were Gladys and Ivor J Ellis. Until recently their sons, Ivor and David, were well known local performers of country music and their earliest performances took place in the pub bar. The Mill had it’s own “death club”. Regulars at the pub paid a small contribution each week into a kitty that was drawn upon when a member had a death in their family. Each June there was usually sufficient funds for members to have a meal once a year in a marquee in the field behind the pub. This was known as the Mill Feast.

A photo of Gladys and Ivor J Ellis outside the Oakwood Mill pub taken in 1960
Gladys and Ivor Ellis outside the Oakwood Mill pub taken c. 1960. Ivor Ellis wrote”… Outside the Oakwood Inn, Bream, (Oaker’s Mill) mid 1960s ? with my late parents Gladys & Ivor J Ellis who kept it till it closed in 1969″.

A good source of customers for this pub were the hordes of thirsty welsh drinkers who descended on the Forest in coaches or ‘charabancs’ on every Sunday throughout the summer. This was due to the licencing laws in Wales forbidding Sunday opening of public. When the visitors from the principality were ready to leave they would often have a rousing sing-song before returning home. Wales really was the “Land of Song” in those days.