Pont Abraham services
Quaint Roadchef services at the far end of the M4, and until 2011 their only presence on the road.
Catering: Costa, McDonald's, Costa Express, Dots Donuts Shops: WHSmith Main Amenities: Ecotricity electric vehicle charging point, Family Fun Hub, Jackpot £500 Motel: none Forecourt: Esso, Spar, Starbucks on the Go, AdBlue4You
First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £12 and HGVs, caravans and coaches £23, or £25 to include a £10 food voucher.
Prices are paid using PayByPhone - more details or in the shop or restaurant. The location code is 5269.
The fees are strictly enforced by CP Plus.
Road Chef Ltd
Pont Abraham Services
M4 Junction 49
- Telephone number: 01792 884663
- Grid reference: SN574074
Trivia and History
The brand names were added in 2015. Until then, the services were quite bare.
The filling station is operated by Euro Garages, and was sold to them by Roadchef in early 2017 as part of Roadchef's move to focus on retailing.
For a while Roadchef claimed that many of the services's staff are fluent Welsh speakers. This claim has since been dropped, but being at the far end of the M4, it is certainly the most Welsh of the motorway services.
A Costa drive thru has been proposed here.
At the time Pont Abraham was built, all motorway services so far had been planned and supervised by the Ministry of Transport, based in London.
When the M4 was built, the Welsh Office took responsibility for all aspects of it. As the M4 has closely-spaced junctions and a lot of nearby towns, finding the right place for services would have been a long process for the relatively small Welsh Office, so to get the task sorted as quickly as possible private developers were invited to build their own services wherever they wanted to.
The simplicity of that system proved popular, and Roadchef were the first to take advantage of it with Pont Abraham. They appear to have gone straight for a roundabout that everyone had to use, as this would be a very cheap way to get a lot of passing trade. In fact, they must have been very keen to get this spot, because Pont Abraham opened 11 years before the M4 at Swansea was finished.
Unfortunately, the down-side of this system was that the Welsh Office couldn't guarantee anyone that a rival service area wouldn't be built next door, and about 5-10 years later Swansea West opened just down the road.
Incidentally, in 1992 this planning policy was adopted in England.
Building Design and Branding
Pont Abraham uses a brick-courtyard design set into the hillside. That hillside isn't always apparent, but it is so steep the filling station is nearly covered by it. The building itself is typical of Roadchef's from that era, but more sympathetic to the local environment: it's possible that this is because Roadchef deliberately chose the location.
There used to be a hill figure of a teapot and teacup on the hillside, constructed in 1992 to enhance the services's entry into the National Tea Council "Motorway's Best Cup of Tea" competition, which was removed in the mid-2000s.
Owing to its low footfall, Pont Abraham has escaped many refurbishments, and still had green The Orchards (the '90s Roadchef restaurant) furniture and a sheet of brown-tainted windows separating the restaurant from the main building in 2015.
The restaurant ended up being re-branded as Costa and a Restbite counter. The Costa café was refurbished during September 2015 and the Restbite closed down and reopened as a McDonald's in November 2015.
A Welsh craft shop, tourist information centre and Roadchef shop were combined to create the current WHSmith. Plans to replace them with two fast food outlets in 2006 didn't go ahead.
Gaming facilities are provided in a separate part of the building, with its own access, named Family Fun Hub.
|Swansea West (6 miles)||Services on the M4||
end of road|
Cross Hands (4 miles)
|Magor (68 miles)||Roadchef services||none|
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