History of Oakwood

  • Oakwood in 1948

    Oakwood in 1948

  • Another view from 1948

    Another view from 1948

  • Oakwood bedroom chalets

    Oakwood bedroom chalets

  • Oakwood a year later

    Oakwood a year later

  • Douglas and children

    Douglas and children

  • The BIG advert

    The BIG advert

The “Cafe in the Wood” . First of all it was an amazing little rustic tearoom set in beautiful surroundings. So great was the demand for the home baked dainties to be had that further accommodation had to be found and a new and bigger building consisting of a dance hall and lounge was erected. Stop and look at the brightly painted caravans dotted about, then walk over to the artesian well and watch the goldfish dart here and there in their efforts to avoid the enveloping sunshine. Mr D Duncan the able proprietor has still more original ideas to try out however. Appreciating the needs of the holiday traveller he is to build a series of little hotels in the woods. The first is almost completed just a few yards from the main building. Also in rustic form it is about the size of an ordinary bedroom and will maintain all similar conveniences. They will be to let for the moderate sum of 6s 6d per head per night which will also include breakfast served in your room or in the cafe . Just as comfortable as any hotel with fresh linen and hot water at your doorway every morning. For a weeks stay there will be a reduced charge £1/15s and special concessions will be made in the respect of children and family parties.

Courant 7th June 1935


The land was originally owned by Alexander William Duff, 1st Duke of Fife and Marquis of Macduff, until his death in 1912. It was then left in his will to his wife, Louise Victoria Alexandra Dagmar, Princess Royal.

In 1922, two local farmers, Ernest Paterson Matheson and Alexander Proctor Taylor purchased the Oakwood site, along with other land for the sum of £10,500.

In 1932 the land then passed to the Joint County Council of Moray and Nairn.

Local business man Douglas Duncan, whilst visiting Canada, saw an attractive wooden building and decided to build one similar, renting the ground from the Council. Construction on the site commenced in 1932, and the Oakwood Cafe and Auto Service Station was opened 31 st March 1933.

During the Second World War, the building was requisitioned and the Ballroom was used to house the soldiers, and the chalets to house the officers.

In 1947 Douglas Duncan purchased the ground and building, and sold it the same day to John Menzies for £9000.

A local distiller, George Grant, joined him in partnership and the name was changed to Oakwood Motel and Petrol Station.

In April 1963 ownership changed to Shell and BP Scotland, in 1967 to Shell Marketing Ltd, and again in 1976 to Shell UK Ltd.

In 1982 the site and buildings returned to private ownership when Gilda Jann bought it and obtained planning permission to build a 32 room accommodation block, and 6 self-catering chalets, along with tw0 staff houses - which was only partly completed.

1983 saw local Ice Cream entrepreneurs, Joseph and Victor Lewis Miele taking ownership at a price of £68,250.

Seven years later in 1990, the property was sold for £175,000 to John Masson, who after demolishing the unfinis-hed extension and refurbishing the original building, went bankrupt in 1994.

Ownership then passed through the Caledonian Bank, the Bank of Scotland and the Strathspey Enterprise Company until 2001, when it was purchased for £140,000 by Macdonald Orr Ltd.

Between 1990 and 2007 several tenants tried to run businesses, a Cafe,Antique Centre and an Indian Restaurant, but for most the time the property remained vacant.

2005 saw Price Right Promotions Ltd purchase the building and land - until in 2007 the present owners, Riverside Kitchens bought the Oakwood and land to change it's use to a Kitchen Showroom.

Riverside Kitchens have totally refurbished the premises to a superb standard and created one of the most stunning and successful kitchen showrooms in the country.