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davidfowler2000

Decker Dave's Dreadful Services Blog

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I feel an honorable mention is also due to this beauty situated on the A96 west of Elgin

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Originally opened in 1933 as Oakwood Cafe and Auto Service Station and I am lead to believe one of the first if not the first purpose built roadside service stations in the UK  (according to the current owners, a kitchen manufacturer).

image.thumb.png.86469a071dc4fbd40934a2cc6dad7040.png

 

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1 hour ago, Tartan58 said:

Don't have occasion to pass here very often but did the other day and immediately thought of this thread.

Here's a google snapshot as it needs to be seen in all it's glory.

 image.png.3625eaf10d90c6880921acda3c09b59a.png

It's not got any better looking. 

I see they're opening a Starbucks in behind the Shell garage. 

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4 hours ago, egg said:

To explain the secret* junction - the circles on this map show  the access on to Matts Hill Road (north and south) - you can drive between either side of the services that way so is also a useful motorway u-turn after that high level business meeting.  Although, I believe there are officially no entry signs.

Secret junctions are quite common, particularly at older services. Technically it is illegal to knowingly use them as...TECHNICALLY... you are merging from the motorway on to a local road without passing any signs to tell you of this.

Doing my little bits of research there is a services I can't remember the name of which regularly has police watching the secret exits and they will do you for it 

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there used to be little chef's everywhere, everything either cooked on a griddle, deep fat fryer or microwave. the packet soup where the brown soup tasted the same as the green soup. was better than some where the all day breakfast had been sitting under a halogen lamp since 8am

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Right. I think this is the last one for now. Hopefully will be able to cram another couple in on this year's Festival of The Unexceptional. I reckon Hilton Park and Woodall are the likely candidates.

Folkestone
Location: M20
Type: One site for both carriageways. Stop 24
Petrol Station: Shell
Hotel: None
Pros: Near Folkestone channel tunnel terminal. Huge truck park.
Cons: Bland.
Comments: Folkestone, Saltwood, Westenhanger, Stop 24... call it what you like. It's now officialy signposted as Folkestone services. Advertises itself as "Port Early Arrivals" as it's not far from Dover and Folkestone channel tunnel terminal. Inside is styled like an airport - big shops, open space, rows and rows of seating. Toilets are at the far end, across from the foreign exchange place. Expect to see lots of foreign lorrys getting lost at roundabouts about here.
Conclusion: Worth a look as it's quite different to most services in the UK

Medway (Farthing Corner)
Location: M2
Type: One on each side. The building IS the bridge over the motorway. Moto
Petrol Station: BP
Hotel: Travelodge
Pros: Generally quieter than other if heading for Dover as it's not on the M20. HUGE coach park.
Cons: Confusing road markings. Cramped.
Comments: Origianlly called Farthing Corner services, it was renamed Medway services as it's the only services on the M2 which is referred to as The Medway Motorway. What a crap idea. It's a right pokey wee hole this place but after coming off the ferry from continental Europe, even this hangover from a previous generation shows you how much better UK services are than european ones. Euro services usually consisting of a coffee shop, a petrol station and a toilet you have to pay for. Apparently the toilets here were notoriously chronic but were refurbished in January 2019. Road markings on the westbound are a bit mad as the slip road goes in to a two way road which eventually leads you to the secret exit rather than back on to the motorway.
Conclusion: Crap but cheery with it. It's a very old site afterall. Autoshite in services form

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19 hours ago, davidfowler2000 said:

Secret junctions are quite common, particularly at older services. Technically it is illegal to knowingly use them as...TECHNICALLY... you are merging from the motorway on to a local road without passing any signs to tell you of this.

Doing my little bits of research there is a services I can't remember the name of which regularly has police watching the secret exits and they will do you for it 

Couple more secret junctions on the m74, Hamilton NB and Bothwell SB respectively. 

Screenshot_20190622-141515_Maps.thumb.jpg.034704bdc1b1f7021f1e532303c516f7.jpg

Screenshot_20190622-141606_Maps.thumb.jpg.4ead90baf90f39772c886e4cff9a614b.jpg

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19 hours ago, davidfowler2000 said:

Secret junctions are quite common, particularly at older services. Technically it is illegal to knowingly use them as...TECHNICALLY... you are merging from the motorway on to a local road without passing any signs to tell you of this.

Doing my little bits of research there is a services I can't remember the name of which regularly has police watching the secret exits and they will do you for it 

Couple more secret junctions on the m74, Hamilton NB and Bothwell SB respectively. 

Screenshot_20190622-141515_Maps.thumb.jpg.034704bdc1b1f7021f1e532303c516f7.jpg

Screenshot_20190622-141606_Maps.thumb.jpg.4ead90baf90f39772c886e4cff9a614b.jpg

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3 minutes ago, davehedgehog31 said:

Couple more secret junctions on the m74, Hamilton NB and Bothwell SB respectively. 

 Screenshot_20190622-141515_Maps.thumb.jpg.034704bdc1b1f7021f1e532303c516f7.jpg        Screenshot_20190622-141606_Maps.thumb.jpg.4ead90baf90f39772c886e4cff9a614b.jpg

I made mention of the Bothwell secret entrance in the post about it. It's very commonly used. The Hamilton one has gates further down the road. Don't know how often they are closed though.

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I feel compelled to add to your review of Tibshelf, M1.

In around 2003, my wife was having an affair with someone I worked with. I found out and stormed off from work at about 6am. He must have told her I'd left work and I think she was scared I was gonna go home and clear my stuff out or something so she also did a runner from where she was working and found me walking home. The only place open for a coffee that time of the morning was Tibshelf Services so she took me there and proceeded to lie through her teeth about what was happening to buy them a few more months of taking the piss.

Thus, Tibshelf will always reek of deception for me. Deception, and skanky ex wives.

 

Oh, and almost all services I know of have a non-motorway entrance for the benefit of the poor souls who work there so they don't have to use the motorway to get to work. Many have barriers and/or cameras though and are signposted against unauthorised use, just like a lot of the maintenance roads you sometimes see where there's a long stretch between junctions. Sticking with Tibshelf, if you head to the back of the carpark you're greeted with this that links to the nearest public road. There's a camera on the pole to the left of the road.

Screenshot 2019-06-22 at 23.53.56.png

 

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Also, Watford Gap. A guy I worked with swears blind when he went in there once there was a kids party in full swing. Cake and hats and everything.

Secret entrance here: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.3086755,-1.1244428,3a,75y,141.93h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1skqN-RFMFaI4LtoInkcWR8g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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All services have a workers entrance. Older sites tended to have the secret entrance setup where you could exit the motorway on to the local road network. More modern setups tend to have separate car parks for the local traffic with a barrier between the motorway side and local side (see Norton Canes) so you can't escape the motorway.

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On 6/12/2019 at 10:03 PM, davidfowler2000 said:

I've been looking at insurance for the Golf tonight. It's upsetting me. I'll do another couple on here.

Charnock Richard
Location: M6
Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Welcome Break
Petrol Station: Shell
Hotel: Ramada
Pros: The eatery is on the bridge.
Cons: Not the biggest. Can be busy.
Comments: Another of the old school style services common across the north west of England. The eatery being on the bridge is a nice novelty as a viewing platform which makes it slightly more interesting than Forton's shut tower.
Conclusion: Not the worst place I've ever been.


Lymm Truck Stop
Location: Cliff Lane, Appleton - M6 and M56 access
Type: Off carriageway. Moto
Petrol Station: BP
Hotel: ibis Budget
Pros: Quirky design. Car drivers welcome. On site barbers. The shop sells CB radios.
Cons: Access off the M6 is a bit confusing.
Comments: Lymm was clearly an independant at one point with a weird layout. The main services is laid out like a courtyard with the shops and toilets located around a wee square. Being a truck stop, the commercial parking is massive and the wee shop sells truck related stuff like air horns, CB radios and hi-vis jackets. Also being a truck stop, the facilities are a bit... utilitarian.
Conclusion: Definitely worth a visit just to see the quirky layout.


Knutsford
Location: M6
Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Moto
Petrol Station: BP
Hotel: Travelodge
Pros: None I can think of.
Cons: Small car park. Small commercial parking. Busy.
Comments: Knutsford is just in the right place to attract a lot of people doing long journeys so it gets really busy. The car park isn't that big and the truck parking is tiny to the point if all you want to do is go for the toilet in the petrol station, you can't get parked for the trucks. The facilities inside are pretty grim as well.
Conclusion: Grim. Not recommended.

 

Sandbach
Location: M6
Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Roadchef
Petrol Station: BP
Hotel: None
Pros: N/A
Cons: N/A
Comments: God it's been a long time since I've been in here. In fact it may be the one I've visited the longest time ago. From memory it wasn't great.
Conclusion: No comment

Sandbach services are grim. About ten mins from where I stay now and had to stop in there a few weeks ago... wouldn’t go back. Would much rather piss myself.

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You are lying. Nobody woukd want to piss themselves rather than use the facilities at Sandbach.  That would be silly. 

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On 6/21/2019 at 7:23 PM, big_al_granvia said:

there used to be little chef's everywhere, everything either cooked on a griddle, deep fat fryer or microwave. the packet soup where the brown soup tasted the same as the green soup. was better than some where the all day breakfast had been sitting under a halogen lamp since 8am

And then it was taken over by an investor. 

Who turned it into 2 companies. A property company, and a food retail company.

Then sold the food retail company on. 

Then put up the rent. Because you need to make yeild

Then had to find new tenants. 

 

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On 6/20/2019 at 8:04 PM, busmansholiday said:

You need a trip down the M5, Strencham, a regular stop of mine, refurbished recently like an airport duty-free area, not to mention the rest down to Exeter (forget Bridgewater, that really is fucking dire).

 

It was better before they widened it and knocked the old southbound one down in about 199? 

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5 hours ago, davidfowler2000 said:

All services have a workers entrance. Older sites tended to have the secret entrance setup where you could exit the motorway on to the local road network. More modern setups tend to have separate car parks for the local traffic with a barrier between the motorway side and local side (see Norton Canes) so you can't escape the motorway.

When I stayed over on the m6 somewhere for a cannock a year or so ago my hotel was on the southbound side, and I was northbound. The guy in the petrol station told me of the hidden road, accessed through many No Entry signs, that took me over the motorway on a little bridge and into the southbound services. 

Next morning, back up the hidden road which links to the back roads to get to cannock. Was a bit odd at first, then I realised how else would the workers get to work easily! 

There's a little road to get to Beaconsfield services from Farnham Common too, have to be careful coming out onto the main road though as the traffic pouring off the m40 never know its there so don't slow down

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4 hours ago, New POD said:

You are lying. Nobody woukd want to piss themselves rather than use the facilities at Sandbach.  That would be silly. 

It was just grim and manky. The toilet from trainspotting was cleaner than the one I used... 😓

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Welcome back to the latest edition with an extra 3, yeah...THREE..., new ones ticked off in one day during today's Secret Mission. Oh. And a revisit. Let's begin.

Long Sutton
Location: A17
Type: Off Carriageway
Petrol Station: BP
Hotel: None
Pros: Easy access. Lots of fuel pumps for cars and HGVs
Cons: There's only one bog in the petrol station
Comments: One of many petrol stations dotted along the A17 at various roundabouts. Nothing really special about it. It just so happened to be the one I used for a quick pee stop. Shop seems reasonably freshly done up. Also has a "Benny's Diner" food place on site with a sizeable car park. God knows what it's like.
Conclusion: No complaints.

Newark
Location: A17 and A46
Type: One site for all routes.
Petrol Station: Shell
Hotel: None
Pros: Easy access from and to all routes.
Cons: Desolate. Shut mostly. Hard to get out when it's busy.
Comments: Signposted as "Services" from the A17 westbound. You don't get the full idea of how big the site is when you drive in because all the car parks for the on site eatery (The Friendly Farmer) are shut and looks like it has been for a while. Looking at it on Google Earth, it seemed a pretty big deal and street view even has pictures of it open. It's got a definite whiff of Musselburgh about it except it's wedged in between two busy roads just off the A1 whereas Musselburgh feels like it's been dumped in some grotty wee hole in a rough approximation of a good place for a services. Petrol station is big, feels pretty new as well.
Conclusion: Handy fill up location before blatting a big journey north or south on the A1.

Ferrybridge
Location: 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.
Conclusion: Definitely worth a visit. If you can bloody find it.

Southwaite (Original Post -> Here)
Location: M6
Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Moto
Petrol Station: BP
Hotel: Travelodge
Pros: Usually quiet whenever I'm in.
Cons: Poor car park markings
Comments: As soon as I revisited this place I immediately remembered it. I usually only visit in the dark on the northbound for a tea but it was day light so I went an explore. I didn't bother with the northbound amenities as I remember them being a bit shit so I went for a walk over to the other side. The northbound side of the bridge is basically a garden with picnic tables. It looks on to the arse end of the building, the truck park and petrol station. Classy* and relaxing*. The bridge is particularly grim - a concrete trough with a metal framing bolted on so you can't hoy yourself over the side on to the M6. £20 note lying on the floor of the bridge - YES!!! Anyways the other side of the bridge brings you out at the outdoor seating area for the southbound amenities. It's enclosed with hedges and fences so you almost don't see the car park, which is quite large, or any of the rest of the site. The outdoor seating area for the northbound is just metal barriers looking straight on to the car park. The southbound building was not bad either. Small but well laid out. Car park markings on both sides need redoing. Northbound also has a compound for Edgerton's Recovery and there is a round Moto style sign reading "Repair Bay". Not something I've seen elsewhere and seems remarkably old fashioned.
Conclusion: Worth a visit when it's quiet. Southbound is definitely better than northbound.

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Another two ticked off today in the new SVM low emission compliant, eco* staff car.

Thickthorne
Location: A47 (Also A11)
Type: Off carriageway. Petrol station with a Travelodge
Petrol Station: Shell
Hotel: Travelodge
Pros: Next door to Norwich Park and Ride
Cons: Access could be better
Comments: I just needed to stop here for a pee and it was the first place I came across signposted as "Services". There's little to no obvious parking away from the pumps so I dumped the car out the way and walked over. Getting back out involved going through the pumps which I can imagine would be a complete pain in the hole if it's busy.
Conclusion: There must be somewhere else worth visiting. Surely?

Markham Moor
Location: A1
Type: One for each carriageway. Petrol station with a Travelodge
Petrol Station: Shell
Hotel: Travelodge
Pros: Cheap-ish fuel. Lot of fuel pumps.
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.
Conclusion: Handy location. Not far up the road from Newark services and less hassle to get in.

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Ferrybridge  used to be off the roundabout at the junction of the A1M and the M62. Then they built the newer, wider A1M to the west of Ferrybridge powerstation, complete with mods to the M62,  leaving it a bit 'lost'.

When coming south on the A1M it goes from three to two lanes just past it with the usual horrendous delays. If you follow the services sign, then A1M south on the roundabout it takes you to the front of the queue.

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More. MORE! These ones from the trip to and back from Festival of the Unexceptional at the weekend...

Hilton Park
Location: M6
Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Moto
Petrol Station: BP
Hotel: Travelodge
Pros: Stands out like Forton. Carpeted link bridge.
Cons: Can be busy although not as bad now that the M6 Toll has opened
Comments: The architecture of Hilton Park is quite impressive. It has a tower on each carriageway which, like Forton, used to have restaurants with panoramic views. The toilets are on the first level of the southbound tower and you have to go up again to reach the bridge which is carpeted making it feel plush* and deadens the sound from the road. The amenities are quite decent as well. The buildings are open and expansive like a shopping centre. The southbound carriageway also retains it's picnic area with dedicated car park.
Conclusion: Worth a visit to see the architecture.

Leicester Forest East
Location: M1
Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Welcome Break
Petrol Station: Shell
Hotel: Days Inn
Pros: Big carp park. Very modern food court
Cons: Can be extremely busy.
Comments: The amenities buildings don't look much when you walk in the front door. They appear very bare, as if they once house more shops that have all since gone. Go up on to the bridge however and it's a different story. A big, wide bridge with all the restaurants, lots of seating, projection TV showing the news and big windows looking over the motorway. Think of Charnock Richard but bigger. This is also the first services I've experienced that when you come down the stairs off the bridge to the northbound service it drops you in to the back of WH Smith. A bit like having to leave a theme park attraction via the gift shop.
Conclusion: Good if it's quiet. I dread to think what it must be like when it isn't.

Woodall
Location: M1
Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Welcome Break.
Petrol Station: Shell
Hotel: Days Inn
Pros: Not much to speak of
Cons: Feels very cramped
Comments: This isn't a good services. The main buildings are very claustraphobic as just about everything is obscured by the pillars holding the place up. The connecting bridge is properly grim. It's draighty, apparently it leaks rain water and it appears to have been made up from other bits of other various bridges. The southbound end of the bridge connects in to the back of WH Smith and were it not for the fact I'd just came out the door, if I was in the southbound amenities, I doubt I'd figure out where the access to the bridge was.
Conclusion: No. Just no. Unless you want to see just how grim the bridge is in which case go in on a dark, windy, wet winter night.

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