Todhills rest area
The first of a new wave of rest areas, Todhills was supposed to inspire a whole new generation of rest areas.
Main Amenities: southbound only: Randox Health Covid-19 Test Dropbox
Hotel: southbound only: Travelodge
Charging Points: GRIDSERVE Electric Highway 50kW CCS, 50kW CHAdeMO & 43kW Type 2
Forecourt: northbound only: Shell, Select, Deli by Shell, Costa Express, Air1 AdBlue
and southbound only: BP, Shop, Wild Bean Café, Air1 AdBlue
Short stay customer parking is available for all vehicles. No overnight parking is available.
This information is provided to us by third parties. You should always check with staff on site.
Moto Hospitality A74
- 📞 Telephone number: 01228 674689
- 🗺 Grid reference: NY373622
🌍 Operators (Official Websites):
Trivia and History
This rest area 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.
The filling stations on each side here have different operators, usually charging a very different price.
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 By 2008, the section immediately north of Carlisle was the only part of the route not have been replaced by a motorway. This road, which was notorious for its outdated design standards, had its own service area at Todhills.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, with a coal fire which was popular with drivers.
The Moss Cafe was sold and demolished in 1999, being replaced by another Little Chef and a Travelodge. With both sides of the road now having a Little Chef, it looked much more like two sides of a single service area. Since 1993 they had planning permission for a "motorway service area" here, 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. They advertised it as a "separate site" on their location listings until 2008, when it was removed, although it was later put back.
Promotion To Rest Area
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, and it appears the commitment was made before the plans were fleshed out in detail.
A few months before the new motorway opened, the Highways Agency conveniently announced the creation of a new class of facility. Called a motorway rest area, it would be a small motorway service area which didn't need to provide food or fuel. Todhills would be the pioneering example, with its rest area status chosen because it had limited food options.
When the road upgrade was completed, Moto swapped the Little Chef at Todhills 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, with little evidence of it being a Moto-operated site.
Other motorway rest areas have since been designated, but as of 2021, they all have ambition to become a full service area. Todhills looks set to be the only one in the long run.
|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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