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
Cartgate Picnic Centre
Trivia and History
When the road was built, an additional exit was provided at the Cartgate Roundabout for some-sort of facility. Eventually the Highways Agency built this picnic area, to make up for a shortage of parking spaces at the neighbouring sites.
The Highways Agency (now Highways England) tended to avoid building places like this because it has little in common with their main task of maintaining motorways. Eventually, additional catering facilities were 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 for this area, but it's labelled Foldhill Lane (a lane that runs slightly north of here). By 2003 this proposal had become one for a BP Truckstop, to be accessed through the picnic area.
| Townsend (eastbound, 1 mile)|
Podimore (5 miles)
|Services on the A303||
Stoke-sub-Hamdon (westbound, 1 mile)|
Ilminster (10 miles)