Motorway Services Online

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Ross Spur services

Location:

A449 westbound by Traveller's Rest Roundabout
(also accessible to traffic on the M50 and the A40)

Signposted from the road.

Post Code:

HR9 7QJ

(Google Maps link)

Access/Layout:

Single site located between junctions with access to both sides

Rating:



A small service area on the A449 (at the end of the M50), on the southbound side of the road. After years of being a shadow of its former self, it went though a major refurbishment with a new forecourt, shop and a drive thru restaurant.

Facilities

Catering: Starbucks Drive Thru Forecourt: Esso, Spar, Greggs, Subway, Starbucks on the Go, AdBlue4You

Parking Prices

First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £8 for 2-24 hours and HGVs must pay £14.99 or £19.99 to include a meal voucher for 2-24 hours.

Prices can be paid in the Spar shop within the filling station, with instructions in each car park.

Contact Details

Address:
Ross Spur Services Forecourt
Ledbury Road
Ross-on-Wye
Herefordshire
HR9 7QJ


Trivia and History

This site is not to be confused with the Premier Inn and Beefeater (Travellers Rest) accessed from the roundabout with the A449 at the end of the M50.

Although it is not regarded as a motorway service area, at some point two unusual road signs were placed on the M50 to help motorists find the services. Another sign on the A40 advised traffic that there is a service area only half a mile off its route, which has now been almost lost in the foliage.

Original Plans

The M50 is named the Ross Spur Motorway, and documentation from the road's construction refers to "the Ross Spur service area". Unfortunately, it's not clear if that's referring to this place, or another one that was planned on the Ross Spur Motorway.

There was a lot of debate about whether the road needed services. Initially it was said to be too short for any services. In 1958 Ministers decided the motorway would offer good views and should have viewpoints or rest areas. This was later turned into a full service area (location not known) but was cancelled due to objections relating to environmental damage, then the services were planned again, then it was decided the road didn't need any services.

No maintenance compound would have been allowed as the area was too scenic. A maintenance compound was developed separately at Bury Court.

Welcome Break legacy

Ross Spur building.
One of the former Welcome Break buildings.

The service area was opened in the 1960s as just a pair of petrol stations. In the 1980s it was taken over by Trusthouse Forte, expanded and promoted as one of their premier sites - especially the westbound side. They gave it The Granary, Happy Eater, The Shop and BP fuel.

When Welcome Break were owned by Granada, the Happy Eater would have become a Little Chef in 1996. Immediately afterwards, Welcome Break was sold and forced to close its Little Chefs. While most of them were re-used, it seems the Ross branch was left empty.

In 2001 the remaining building was sold off and quickly became derelict. Welcome Break were still interested in A-road services at the time, just not this one.

Ten years later, Welcome Break's road signs (and even parking prices) could be found all over the southbound services. The northbound side was later occupied by KFC who removed most of the branding, save for a few treats for eagle-eyed enthusiasts. Externally, both the north and south sites were virtually unchanged since Welcome Break left them, and they were hardly cutting-edge in those days either. For most of the 2000s, it was a Welcome Break time-lock.

Northbound Developments

After a muddled history with KFC occupying the former Red Hen building, Labels Outlet Shoppingwebsite opened in an adjacent field in 2010 using the car park in the northbound service area as an alternative entrance. Although this is on a separate site, it pretty much confirms that this side no longer functions as a service area. It is set to gain warehouses and offices too.

Euro Garages and the southbound side

It is the southbound side that had become almost completely derelict, aside from the petrol station which was itself very run-down, using an old style BP hoped to have phased out by now. The restaurant and toilet symbols on the road sign were temporarily covered up.

Euro Garages took over the southbound services and completely rebuilt the site. There were rumours that a Burger King restaurant was due to open here but these turned out to false and a Greggs opened here instead alongside a Subway and a separate Starbucks Drive Thru. In June 2018, the filling station was re-branded from BP to Esso.

Alternatives

Previous:Next:
Hartlebury (44 miles)
Strensham (M5 north, 22 miles)
Gloucester (M5 south, 39 miles)
Services on the A449 Symonds Yat (8 miles)