Ah, the M5. It’s not my favourite road at the best of times. But as soon as the summer months arrive, it becomes a bit of a nightmare. Tailbacks, accidents, traffic jams, all the way from Birmingham to Exeter and back again. I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve been caught up in them, and how much fun time has been lost to this accursed autobahn.
One thing that you do need when travelling this troublesome road is a decent service station to stop at. Usually we would make do with Strensham, just by junction 8, and we’ve visited Michaelwood and Gordano too. We’ve also stopped at the tiny Bridgwater services which is probably one of the smallest on the network, and is pretty weird.
Thankfully, you can now forget all of the others if a service area near junction 12 is suitable for your journey. Gloucester Services has arrived, just before junction 12 if you’re heading south on M5, or just after if you are northbound. Gloucester Services are owned by the Westmorland Family group, who also own Tebay Services/Westmorland Farm Shops, near junction 38 of the M6.
This then is essentially a carbon copy of Tebay, but built in the present day using more modern methods and ideas like a green/living roof. It’s all still very shiny and new (there’s not a lot of grass on the verges yet for example). The principles are the same, sourcing local ingredients, using them in all the meals made on site, and selling them on to you. You can also buy lots of this local produce to take away, from meats to cheeses to cakes to beers and ciders. And plenty more besides.
Today we stocked up on some of those aforementioned beers and ciders, as well as some snacky stuff for lunch, including some very tasty pork pies. It’s a service station, so it’s not going to be the cheapest in the world, but all of that quality stuff in the same place is pretty convenient.
Gloucester Services are in that rare category of being MOFAD approved!