Camel Hill services
An unremarkable Little Chef gave way to a truly unique restaurant.
Last updated July 2018.
- Grid reference: ST592255
Trivia and History
The restaurant here was originally the Frying Pan Cafe but it was damaged by a fire in 1984. It was then demolished and replaced by a Happy Eater, which in 1996 became the Sparkford branch of Little Chef. Granada wanted this restaurant to be a pilot site for a "new concept", which was called Little Chef Express and had a blue colour scheme, with rounded logos showing its mascot running and the word "diner" written all around the building.
In 1997 the trial was ended and the colour scheme reverted to normal, albeit with a few blue mascots still around. In 2008 it closed entirely and is now the Mattia diner, which has been covered with distinctive Elvis memorabilia.
Two miles to the west of here (near the B3151 exit) was another service station called Camel Cross. It was one of the original, 1970s, Welcome Breaks, and was converted to a Happy Eater but closed in favour of Camel Hill. It was positioned next to a garage called Camel Cross Motors. The junction is now closed, the garage is a bar and bistro, and the restaurant is now a bed and breakfast.
The petrol station was once operated by Shell directly, but was sold to MFG, who upgraded the forecourt and shop throughout mid-2016, changing the shop from Select Shop to Londis in the process. At the back of the services is a fenced off area, which appears to have been an exit through to Gason Lane.
Planning permission has been granted to MFG in March 2018 for demolition and redevelopment of the current forecourt. The plans also include the building of a Drive Thru coffee shop on waste land situated behind the current forecourt.
|Sparkford (1 mile)||Services on the A303||Podimore (4 miles)|