Motorway Services Online

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Todhills rest area

Location:

M6 between J44 and J45

Signposted from the road.

Postcode:

CA6 4HA

map and directions

Access/Layout:

Two sites located between junctions, with no public connection between them.

Rating:



The first of a new wave of rest areas, Todhills was supposed to inspire a whole new generation of rest areas.

Facilities

COVID-19 update: These details were updated on 7 November 2020, with changes caused by COVID-19.


Catering: Costa Hotel: closed Charging Points: Ecotricity Forecourt: northbound only: Shell, Select, Deli by Shell, Costa Express, Air1 AdBlue
southbound only: BP, Shop, Wild Bean Café, Air1 AdBlue

Parking Prices

First 2 hours free for all vehicles. No overnight parking is available.

Contact Details

🏢 Address:
Moto Hospitality A74
Todhills
Blackford
Carlisle
Cumbria
CA6 4HA


Trivia and History

Todhills rest area.
The main building was a Little Chef.

The site has sometimes been referred to as 'Moss services', referring to the Moss Café. It is also referred to as a "services" on the M6's electronic signs when there is a problem.

Until 2008 Todhills had its own page on Moto's website. This was then removed and there was only a brief reference to it on their map, until recently, when the page was put back.

The filling stations on each side here have different operators, usually charging a very different price.

Origins

The A74 was the busy and important road between Glasgow and Carlisle. By 2008, the section immediately north of Carlisle was the only part of the route not have been replaced by a motorway. This road, which was notorious for its outdated design standards, had its own service area at Todhills.

The southbound service area was developed in the 1970s - probably after the road was dualled in 1970 - as the Moss Cafe and filling station. This would become a well-known landmark.

In 1989, a Happy Eater was built next to an existing filling station on the northbound side. In 1993, this became a Little ChefHistory, which gained a Coffee Stop that became a Burger King.

In 1999, the Moss Cafe was replaced by a Little ChefHistory and Travelodge were built on the southbound side. With both sides now having a Little Chef, it looked much more like two sides of a service area. Since 1993 they had planning permission for a "motorway service area", though nothing on this scale was ever built.

When the Compass Group created Moto, Todhills was regarded as a major service area, and was treated as one of their sites. After Compass sold Little Chef, Moto continued to operate the Little Chefs under a franchise agreement.

Growth

Like many facilities on the A74, it was assumed Todhills would be closed when the road became a motorway. A few miles up the road 20 years ago the same situation had seen Gretna be replaced, but as Todhills had nearby alternatives it didn't look like that would happen here.

As negotiations to arrange the upgrade of this section of road reached delicate stages, a commitment was made to route the road around Todhills, and to provide it access to the new road. This couldn't normally be fulfilled as the service area didn't meet the standards necessary for it to be connected to a motorway, but instead it became the first of a new generation of motorway rest area: a category created to describe service stations which doesn't necessarily provide food or fuel.

When the A74 and the service station were upgraded, Moto swapped the Little Chef for a Costa, claiming it fitted the concept better - although in reality it was to fit their national portfolio. This created an unusual situation for Moto where the Costa brand is applied across the whole building, including the lobby and former kitchen.

Alternatives

Previous:Next:
Carlisle Truckstop (A689, 3 miles)
Southwaite (13 miles)
Services on the M6 road becomes A74(M)
Gretna (6 miles)
Southwaite (13 miles) Moto services none nearby

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