Technically this is only a picnic area, but it is officially endorsed in the sense that it's designed and run by Highways England themselves. It used to offer just parking for a number of vehicles with a wooded picnic area in the centre, where tourist information and a daytime-only toilet block could be found.
Please note that due to COVID-19, toilet facilities may not be available at Cartgate.
COVID-19 update: Most service stations are open with fewer facilities. General advice here.
Catering: Cartgate Lodge Cafe Main Amenities: Picnic Tables, Toilets, Tourist Information
Free parking is available for all vehicles 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This information is provided to us by third parties. You should always check with staff on site.
Cartgate Picnic Centre
Trivia and History
When the A3088 was built in the 1980s, a roundabout was built at Cartgate which included an additional exit for some-sort of facility. Eventually the Highways Agency built this picnic area there, which makes up for the lack of parking spaces at existing service areas along the A303. It opened around the time that the A303 was upgraded to a dual carriageway in the 1990s.
The Highways Agency (now Highways England) tended to avoid building places like this because it has little in common with their biggest responsibility that is maintaining motorways. A tourist information centre was added to the site in 2002, operated by South Somerset Council. Additional catering facilities were also later provided, which gave Highways England a reliable on-the-ground contact. These catering facilities are now the only parts of the land Highways England don't own.
In 1989 there were several plans for a large Margram service area with a restaurant and a hotel in this area, but the address points to a lane to the north. By 2003 this proposal had become one for a BP Truckstop, which would have been positioned next to the picnic area and accessed from it.
|Townsend (eastbound, 1 mile)|
Podimore (5 miles)
|Services on the A303||Stoke-sub-Hamdon (westbound, 1 mile)|
Ilminster (10 miles)