Did you know Motorway Services in Britain often have a secret entrance? You didn’t care either, did you??
Where is this?
We are in Pale Lane, the unsuspecting country road that suddenly reveals a hive of industry as it opens up into Fleet services on the M3 in Hampshire. Some gorgeous original 1970s road signs including two old-design STOP signs that have really seen better days!!
Can I use these entrances?
No. It’s an offence to use these entrances to access or leave the motorway except for authorised vehicles to access the services. Certain exceptions apply at some sites, such as at Clacket Lane on the M25 in Surrey: the motel at this site is in the services on the clockwise carriage, so guests arriving from the West on the anticlockwise carriageway may exit via the rear access, cross the bridge over the motorway, and enter the opposite carriageway’s secret entrance.
Motoring journalist Jeremy Clarkson unsurprisingly described the M3’s unofficial extra junction as the “Fleet Cheat” – a way to avoid the queuing traffic on the mainline motorway.
Pale Lane was the subject of debate by Hartley Witney Parish Council in 2010, the conclusion of which saw the installation first of rising bollards, and subsequently the barrier and ANPR cameras shown in these pictures. Spoil sports!
The excellent website Motorway Services Online has more information about these secret access points, and includes a list of all the services in Britain and Ireland that have one.