SPOTLIGHT ON OAKE PARISH
The parish is served by a community shop and post office, three Anglican churches, a primary school, two public houses , an equipped toddlers' play area as well as an adventure playground and numerous businesses including farms and garages and a golf course. (The picture below records the magnificent cedar tree which graced Oake Churchyard for more than a hundred years - sadly it was a victim of the storms in early 2014)
We are fortunate to share a new community hall situated in Oake and opened in 2003 to replace the pre-war hall. This project has brought the people together and drawn on the resources of many parishioners.
Oake is the largest community, with Heathfield to the north-east and Hillcommon to the north-west while Hillfarrance lies about a mile to the south. We border Preston Bowyer in the west and Norton Fitzwarren in the east: to the north we adjoin the new village of Cotford St Luke. To the south lies Bradford on Tone and Nynehead.
Oake lies at the heart of the four communities. The post office and school are situated on the road running from the B3227 to Bradford on Tone, passing the new village hall and Oake Manor Golf Club. Although surrounded by farm land, it is now largely a residential area which has grown significantly over the last ten years with the building of nearly fifty new houses in Saxon Close. Oake Close provides amenity housing, particularly for the elderly.
Businesses within the village include an aromatherapist, photographers and a fencing company.
Visitors often ask why the church is so far from the village: in fact, it is not, because the original village was centred around the church, as it is shown on ancient maps, but most of the cottages and other buildings, including a Chapel and a Poor House, have long since disappeared. Even today, the Ordnance Survey places Oake at the church and the mileage on signposts is measured to the church. After all, the church has been where it is since at least the 13 th century, whereas most of the present village is of post-war construction!
The ancient village of Oake is mentioned in history as early as AD897 where, in Codex Diplomaticus Aevi Saxonici, it is referred to as ‘ Acon’.
In Domesday Book, after the coming of the Normans, it is spelt as ‘ Acha’ and this, through the ages, has become Oake.
The name obviously derides from the abundance of oak trees in the neighbourhood – sadly depleted over the years, although a few still remain, notably around the church. It is probable that there was a place of worship in the Saxon settlement, although whether the present church was built on its site is not known.
The number of residents is approximately 65 young and old. The Church has strong connections with Oake, Hillfarrance and Cotford St.Luke.
There are four working farms:
- Dollings Farm - beef, potatoes, cereals
- Manor Farm - beef, cereals
- D.Barker - breeder of Simmental Bulls
- Orchard Farm - 62 acres of fruit, potatoes and vegetables with 1,200 free range hens and free range pigs. Supplier to the trade and own Farm Shop on the Wellington Road (Rumwell Farm shop)
- P.H. Nurseries - suppliers to the trade.
Hillcommon is to be found on the B 3227 just to the North of Oake, in fact all the properties are to be found either side of this road.
There is a public house called the Orchard Inn which serves excellent food.
Two garages, one with repair workshop and car sales, the other has a repair workshop.
There is an apple orchard and they supply fruit and apple juice via their shop at Rumwell.
There are a couple of smallholdings, Slough Farm which is a popular pony club venue, also Higher House which as well as being a small holding also has a self catering unit.
Hillfarrance is a small hamlet to the south of Oake and 3 miles from the M5 junction at Wellington.
There is a public house, The Anchor Inn, and a church dedicated to The Holy Cross is situated in the centre of the hamlet.
The Sustrans cycle route from Bristol to Padstow passes through the village (Route 3)