Gloucester Services

Gloucester, United Kingdom | C.1972

Photo Credit: Louise Walsh

The M5 motorway links England’s Midlands to southwest England. Journeying along it can feel awfully monotonous, until you reach Gloucester Services near Whaddon, Gloucester. Unlike the standard chains one often sees on a long car journey, these service areas sell artisanal food and feel a bit different than your average stop.

In 1972, John and Barbara Dunning’s Cumbrian farm was cut through by the M5 motorway. Unlike others, the Dunnings didn’t view the loud motorway as the end of their farm, but rather the beginning of a new chapter. Their farm shop sold locally produced food, a butcher offered meat from their farms, and a kitchen served homemade dishes to a thirty-seat café. Their intention was to provide a strong sense of the surrounding community where you’d least expect it. Back then it was visionary. Today, the family is part of a local food revolution.

In May 2014, they opened Gloucester Services on the M5. They offer a “quick kitchen,” ATM, toilets, and showers twenty-four hours a day. During working hours, they open up their kitchen, local store, butcher counter, and fishmonger. A postbox is on the scene for additional convenience.

As a final touch, the green roof was designed to help blend the new station in as part of the landscape. Grass and other foliage was planted on the roof, in the hopes of attracting bees and butterflies, to complete the welcoming scene offered just off the highway.

📖 Featured on Page 155 of AWA, The Book 

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