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Decker Dave's Dreadful Services Blog (Index at the top of Page 1)


davidfowler2000
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Well then another Field of Dreams, another couple of new services ticked off. I can also say, once again, that I have now done every services on the M6.

Rugby
Location: M6
Type: One site at a junction. Moto
Petrol Station: BP
Hotel: None
Pros: Brand new services. Large car park, lots...LOTS of electric car charging. Massive toilets. Everything feels fresh. Decent variety of shops.
Cons: Access off a busy roundabout where the M6 / A5 kinda meet. Modern layout. ATMs charge £1.99
Comments: A nice, fresh, modern services (official opening 1st July 2021, actual opening about 3 months previous) which appears to have been planted in expectation of the massive distribution centre just down the A5 opening and attracting a lot of trucks. Being a Sunday evening, it was quiet so it was actually quite a nice place to have dinner.  Nice unoffensive contemporary design, lots of light inside from the big windows and a wee outdoor seating area. Although it's not the same shape as the MegaServices at Wetherby or Cherwell Valley, it still retains the idea of one long building with a door at one end and the toilets at the other. Nice views of the M6 stretching in to the distance from the access road.
Conclusion: Would have dinner here again but because of the nuisance access, I wouldn't use for just a toilet stop.

Trowell
Location: M1
Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Moto
Petrol Station: BP
Hotel: Northbound only - Travelodge
Pros: It had a toilet. Funky marble effect flooring leading up to the bridge. Cardphone.
Cons: Small car park. A shadow of it's former self.
Comments: This one really could be an autoshite outstation. It's been modernised inside with new fittings and fixture but it's still an OLD services. Reading up on the history, Trowell was designed to be more like a very local outlet village. With local theming (Robin Hood), shops, restaurants and even a pub. The pub didn't last long and over the years the various shops and restaurants eventually gave way to more standard service station amenities. The upper level restaurant also closed to become offices. Oh and there's apparently 4 Greggs outlets here now.
Conclusion: I am becoming a fan of Midland services. This one is quirky and I like it. Can imagine it being purgatory when it's busy though.

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  • 3 weeks later...

After the weekends of Field of Dreams and FoTU, I have a few updates to make.

Mostly the reduction in seating because of Covid is becoming a major pain. Updates marked in bold.

Scotch Corner
Location: A1(M) / A66
Type: One site for both carriageways. Moto
Petrol Station: Esso
Hotel: Travelodge
Pros: Nothing really special. Tradition more than anything
Cons: Small, cramped. Known feeder point for tour coaches. ESSO charges for water.
Comments: This is almost a tradition, old charter or something when traversing the A66 and A1(M) as it's about 2:45hrs from Glasgow. The parking is decent but the amenities building is quite small, as is the toilets. Where there used to be a large seating area, allegedly for Costa customers only, there is now a new KFC which has taken away a number of seats on top of the reduced seating because of Covid. Also, presumably for the same reason, on the night I was in both Burger King and KFC closed at 7pm. I was lucky enough to get an order in at 1855 but there were still slews of people coming in expecting hot food. Also on the way out, I thought I'd get some water from the hose at the compressor at the petrol station. Nope. £1 please for water and it looked like just water, no screenwash.
Conclusion: Status downgraded from Not Great to Avoid.

Markham Moor
Location: A1
Type: One for each carriageway. Petrol station with a Travelodge
Petrol Station: Shell
Hotel: Travelodge (Northbound side)
Pros: Cheap-ish fuel. Lot of fuel pumps. Water is free.
Cons: You may just end up back on the A1 without even going in
Comments: This is sign posted as services but it's just a petrol station with hotel. And there's one for each carriageway. And they're both accessible from the same road junction. Heading northbound you come off the carriageway and to access the services you have to take a slip road off the slip road that takes you back on to the northbound A1 so if you miss it, you just end up back on the main road without having been in. Site is fine, usual lots of fuel pumps and a modern shop. I always think of the A1 as a motorway and all services along it as motorway services so it's nice to have normal priced fuel at a site signed as Services and most of it's business coming off the main trunk route. Southbound is also access from the ON-slip to the A1 so if you're not careful you can miss it but there is also access from the A57. While the northbound side has the hotel, the southbound has the McDonalds for food. Both accessible from all directions. Also the southbound has free water at the Air / Water stand so I was able to wash the windscreen seeing as I missed ALL the rain on the way to Grantham. Presumably the northbound has free water too.
Conclusion: Handy location. Not far up the road from Newark services and less hassle to get in and out. Recommended.

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Having had call to stop here a couple of times in recent weeks, I feel the need to do an update:

Old Inns
Location: Castlecary Road, Wardpark, Cumbernauld. Just off the M80
Type: Dual carriageway hangover
Petrol Station: Shell
Hotel: None
Pros: Cheap fuel (ie not motorway prices). Decent snack van.
Cons: Unless you read the signs like a hawk or know where it is, by the time you see it you've already went past the exit.
Comments: Old Inns was a services on the old A80 Northbound before it was upgraded to motorway status. They moved the access to Castlecary Road so where it was a slip road off the A80, now you have to come off the M80 to get in. It is signposted as a services in both directions but only on the last signs for the slip road. The snack van has been upgraded to an actual cafe since my original review. It's alright I suppose - I wouldn't go there daily if I was working nearby. The food is decidedly average, slow but is cooked reasonably freshly, a little bit more expensive than I'd like and orders seem to get mixed up more often than would be deemed 'accidental'.
Conclusion: Handy meeting point for Club GLF on the way to Crail.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another successful 900 mile drive in order for myself, @chaseracerand @Inspector Moroseto waste some time on the Isle of Wight. Good day. Would recommend 112%/10.

A new one, and an update...

Sutton Scotney
Location: A34
Type: One on each side. Roadchef.
Petrol Station: Shell
Hotel: Days Inn
Pros: Decent sized site. Ample parking. Doesn't seem to be too busy. Nice internal layout.
Cons: Not many to note. Lots of seating removed, presumably for covid regulations
Comments: The time we went in, it was quiet. Fuel is slightly dearer than the high street but not as much as a motorway services... because the A34 isn't a motorway. The internal layout is sensible. The door is in the middle of everything. To the left, toilets and Costa, WH Smith dead ahead and a McDonalds burger emporium to the right. Could be cramped if busy. A very 1980s / 90 feel to it. It's not down at heel but not exactly up to date either. Although there are many little petrol stations on the A34 between Oxford and Winchester, this one feels most like an actual service area other than Chieveley, which is a hole.
Conclusion: Peaceful. Quiet. Reasonable prices (for a services). Recommended.

Hopwood Park
Location: M42
Type: One site at a junction. Welcome Break.
Petrol Station: Shell
Hotel: None
Pros: Pretty modern. Opened 1999. Large seating area. Welcome Break brand fuel station accepts multiple fuel cards.
Cons: Mr Inspector Morose hates it.  Mr Inspector Morose dislikes it. Toilets upstairs. Known feeder point for coaches. First services after the M42 and M40 merge.
Comments: Quite swish by the standards of the likes of Knutsford - it's got a Waitrose for a start. Airy interior. Was quiet the one time I visited. Well I've now visited again and I am very much a fan. We arrived when it was quiet so that just makes it automatically better. The facilities are excellent, the interior is like a shopping centre. Toilets upstairs are a bit of a pain but if all you're doing is stopping for the toilet then just go to the petrol station. It has all the usual shops like WH Smith, Little Waitrose, Burger King, KFC and Starbucks plus I belive there's more food-on-the-go style stuff in the petrol station. All the seating is in the middle with none of this segragated nonsense. Biggest problem is that it's the first services you come to after the M40 and M42 meet so it's a big target for traffic from London and Nottingham heading to the south west.
Conclusion: Not bad. Would visit again. Definitely worth a visit but pick your times. Recommended.

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On 16/06/2019 at 21:21, davidfowler2000 said:

More I hear you ask? No? Tough. Anyways time to skip back north of the border to go over a couple I had forgot about and to finish off the Scottish stuff. Until I remember something else I forgot.

Dutch House
Location: Kilmarnock Road, Monkton
Type: Petrol station with Brewer's Fayre
Petrol Station: BP
Hotel: Premier Inn
Pros: Nothing special.
Cons: Again, nothing to note.
Comments: Just off the Dutch House roundabout where the A77 and A78 meet. Mostly just a petrol station but is signed as services on the A77 southbound. Next door to the Dutch House caravan park. It's the first place that resembles a services that you come to after coming off the Belfast ferry at Cairnryan. Driving up the A77 you do go through some towns and villages that will have local stuff but they all shut at about a quater past 1954.
Conclusion: Handy. Good for a quick whazz before the last leg of the A77 / M77 to Glasgow coming north from the ferries.


Bellfield Interchange
Location: Riccarton Road (A71) and A76, Kilmarnock
Type: Petrol station with McDonald's
Petrol Station: BP
Hotel: Travelodge
Pros: Sits between the A71 and A76 just before the Bellfield roundabout so can be used to dodge the roundabout if you want to go between Hurlford and A76 to Cumnock.
Cons: Small car park. The Bellfield roundabout is a bastard at peak times.
Comments: Locally referred to as the Q8 as that was the petrol station that used to be there when it opened. The new McD's also sits on the site of the old Little Chef that appeared to have noone in it any time I went past. Only appears to be signposted as a services on the A77 southbound.
Conclusion: I can't think of a reason to visit this one. Then again nothing in particular comes to mind regarding avoiding it. Other than being in Kilmarnock. Get out of Killie at all costs.


Heart of Scotland (Harthill)
Location: M8
Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge.
Petrol Station: BP
Hotel: None
Pros: The only services between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Cons: It doesn't offer anything other than a bog that you can't find less than 15 mins away.
Comments: Harthill used to be a proper services but it's now just a petrol station and a bus stop which just shows what kind of patronage it gets. It's also a large site and you can still access all the old bits of the car parks where the buldings used to be which just makes it a dismal hole in the earth. Harthill is basically just a Park and Ride for Citylink and Stagecoach services between Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dunfermline.
Conclusion: Avoid. You might just catch Harthill.


South Queensferry / Forth Bridge / Ferrymuir
Location: A90
Type: Multiple facilities dotted around a junction
Petrol Station: BP (South Queensfery), Shell (Forth Bridge) and Tesco (Ferrymuir)
Hotel: Premier Inn (South Queensferry) and Hotel Dakota (Ferrymuir)
Pros: Lots of choice. Much quieter now the M90 has been finished on to the new bridge
Cons: All over the place
Comments: These services are at the first junction south of the old Forth Road Bridge and is simply signposted as "Services". The 3 sites are arranged around the roundabout so you get the choice but it's only if you know what's where. It's all a bit redundant now anyways because the old bridge is for buses and 125cc bikes so you don't really get much access from the new road. I only ever used the Shell garage if I needed fuel as it was the easiest to get to so I can't speak for the rest of it.
Conclusion: Local services for local people


Musselburgh
Location: A1 / A720
Type: One site for multiple routes.
Petrol Station: BP
Hotel: Travelodge
Pros: None
Cons: All of them
Comments: I had to do some research on this dump to get an idea of how it got the way it did. Musselburgh services is fairly new. Built in 1989 to coincide with the opening of the A720 Edinburgh bypass and the A1 Musselburgh bypass so you'd think it'd be reasonably nice. It was originally a Granada with Granada Shop, Granada Kitchen Restaurant and Granada Lodge. The shop became a Burger King, the Country Kitchen became Scotland's only AJs then a Little Chef and the lodge became a Travelodge. The site was run by Moto as well at one point. Since then Burger King and Little Chef have gone leaving the amenities building completely redundant since 2010. Said amenities building is now boarded up and there are various sign posts from the Granada days with no signs on them, some bits of Burger King signs and gateway signage on the way in to the Travelodge with bits missing out of them. The Travelodge and petrol forecourt are still open for business but the whole site feels deserted and MUCH older than it actually is. I dare say if it wasn't for the Travelodge and the fact it's right at the A720 / A1 junction this place would have shut down years ago seeing as The Jewel and Fort Kinnaird are less than 5 minutes up the road.
Conclusion: This place is outstandingly fucking grim. Definitely worth a visit just to have a wander round the site.

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Hart hill only had proper services on the East Bound M8 with a fly over from the car park on the westbound.

As there were many flights of steps anyone just wanting a quick pee , just used the bottom of the stair well. Lovely.

At least the petrol station shop now has toilets.

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Well here's one I thought was going to be a new one until I pulled in and realised I had been here before...

Leeming Bar Rest Area
Location: A6055
Type: One site at a junction. Moto.
Petrol Station: BP
Hotel: Travelodge
Pros: It's not Scotch Corner
Cons: Over a mile from the A1(M) junction. Very run down.
Comments: I had to read up on Leeming Bar 'cos I wasn't there for long enough to notice much. Everything apart from Costa, McDonalds and the petrol station is currently closed because of coronavirus restrictions to the point where the shop is CLEARLY being used as a store room. The whole site is old and very run down and Moto are struggling to put a business case together to actually spend any money on the place especially seeing Scotch Corner, Ripon and Wetherby are so close by. Having looked at aerial photography, I didn't know about the extra car park round the back of the main amenities building but even so the main, obvious, car park is TINY! Large gravel area signposted for Coaches but also seems to be the caravan and HGV area.
Conclusion: Although it's not Scotch Corner (and the associated pain of getting in and out) it's so far off the motorway that Scotch Corner is actually a better shout unless you just so happen to be traveling along the road it's on. 3/10 Don't Bother

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  • 8 months later...

Festival of The Unexceptional done for another year but we have to do some updates...

As usual, updates in bold

Blyth
Location: A1(M)
Type: One side for both carriageways. Moto
Petrol Station: Esso
Hotel: Travelodge
Pros: None. Potentially quiet.
Cons: Small
Comments: As will be the case with a lot of the east coast stuff, I only ever stopped here once on the one day round trip to London to get those hi fi speakers I won on eBay. Looking at maps, Blyth services was at the roundabout where the A1(M) finished and the A1 started so the access was pretty sensisble off the A1 southbound and exit back on to the roundabout. Now the roundabout has been removed and the roads continue in to each other so everything got re-jigged at the services. It's weird. From memory you come in, drive through the truck park, double back on yourself and then in to the parking where you are greeted with what felt like a glorified Portakabin™. It was something daft like 9am on a Sunday morning when I rocked up so it was dead however I was still not impressed. The inside is really close and cramped even with noone in it. God knows what it must be like when it's busy.
@captain_70shad a fuel emergency on the way back from FoTU 2022 necessitating a stop here so we nipped in to the petrol station. The access to said fuel stop was unforgetably chronic. Biggest problem is no toilets in the petrol station apart from an utterly heart stoppingly bad porta-squat outside on the forecourt. I managed to brave it but it was horrific.
Conclusion: Come in, go for a pee in the main building toilets, get out. 2/10 AVOID

Ferrybridge
Location: A162, M62
Type: One site for various routes. Moto
Petrol Station: BP
Hotel: Travelodge
Pros: Massive car park. Big amenities building.
Cons: Has access to about 47 different motorways, none of which feel close to it.
Comments: I'm sure I've tried to get in to Ferrybridge once before and ended up back on the motorway but I finally managed to work out the secret code. It has access to the M62 and A162 but there are signs on the A1(M) to get in and signage back on to it via the M62. Even though it's at a junction like many other services, for some reason I just can't get my head around where it is even following signs. Once you're in it's like a wild goose chase trying to find the car park as the access road takes you right round the amenities building with hardly any signage or road marking. Once you do find the car park, it's huge - from what I gather Ferrybridge was a much more important site when the A1 was just the A1 and the A1(M) and M1 didn't exist. The building is impressive but doesn't give a good impression walking in the door. Going in the front door it feels like another tiny, grotty wee place until you get past M&S and it opens up in to an vastly oversized log cabin feeling food court. It was dead when I visited so maybe that made it feel nicer. More eateries since last time. KFC, bigger Pret a Manger, bigger Costa and a Greggs. Reduces the amount of seating and overall bigly feeling of the seating area but the seating itself has also been upgraded and is much nicer. @jaypee noted pubes in the urinals.
Conclusion: Definitely worth a visit. If you can bloody find it. 7/10 Recommended

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8 hours ago, jaypee said:

Aye, I can confirm there was a fair smattering of pubes on at least 6 of the urinals, I am assuming that we hit just as the cleaners were going to start.... 

Blimey, is it moulting season? and were there any ginger pubes😂 

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When I stop at a services the first thing I need is a pee so I don't appreciate the lavvies being as far as is physically possible from the entrance. I'm not going to be doing impulse purchases of useless tat or buying nosh until after I have made myself comfortable. 

I hope the people who design these places read this brilliant thread and will take note of my comments :)

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37 minutes ago, DSdriver said:

When I stop at a services the first thing I need is a pee so I don't appreciate the lavvies being as far as is physically possible from the entrance. I'm not going to be doing impulse purchases of useless tat or buying nosh until after I have made myself comfortable. 

I hope the people who design these places read this brilliant thread and will take note of my comments :)

Their hopeful your be relaxed, stupid and magpie types that relieve themselves and then get I wants. 

Sat nav great as easily to bypass with little effort eg reading services v supermarket just off junction

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Corley services had a well used secret entrance/exit. It's been a while so I couldn't say whether it is still in use.

I prefer Tibshelf to Trowell or Woodall on the m1, for a long time there was still a Wimpy there, now a McDs sadly. It's generally quieter than the other services and not so far to run for a pee

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  • davidfowler2000 changed the title to Decker Dave's Dreadful Services Blog (Index at the top of Page 1)
On 8/5/2022 at 7:20 AM, SH1TE said:

Blimey, is it moulting season? and were there any ginger pubes😂 

Must be, nah, nae ginger ones to be seen. 

Black, blonde and a few mousey brown ones. 

😎

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On 05/08/2022 at 14:59, fairkens said:

Corley services had a well used secret entrance/exit. It's been a while so I couldn't say whether it is still in use.

Southbound?  Still there.

No barrier, but may* have ANPR.  I'll have a look next time.

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