Anyone who spends their days (and often nights) out on the UK roads hauling goods across the country and then travelling back with a return loadknows the importance of a decent roadside rest stop: a place to take a break, get something to eat and recharge the batteries for the next leg of the journey. Of course, like most services, the easiest way of sorting out the good from the bad and mediocre is through personal recommendation – and what better recommendation could there be than a "Truckstop of the Year Award"?
The popular Chippenham Pit Stop, just off the M4, was the winner of the 2017 award, so if you want to know just what it takes to be Pit Stop Number 1 this year, take note.
This prestigious award is facilitated by the well-read Trucking News in association with its partner, TomTom. Every year, the publication scours the country for the best truck stops, as voted for by its HGV driving readers. Readers are asked to rate an establishment for the following categories:
· the quality and price of food
· availability and cleanliness of toilet and shower facilities
· availability, quietness and security of parking
· provision of AdBlue
Once a short list of eight is compiled, a panel of anonymous judges head out on the road (incognito, of course) to put each one's facilities to the test and concur on a final winner.
According to both readers and judges, the Chippenham Pit Stop is a well-deserving winner and a standout in terms of layout, service, cleanliness and facilities. Situated just off the busy Junction 17 of the M4, the site includes an 85-space lorry park adjacent to its filling station and runs its operation under the mantra of, "You take care of the driving, we'll take care of you." For weary, hard-working drivers on their second or third return load of the week, that undoubtedly comes as a welcome invitation.
Fabulous food: The onsite restaurant covers a broad range of tastes, boasting very appealing menu options. It’s particularly famous for its generous all-day breakfast, which is a particular hit with HGV drivers heading back home from a long-haul delivery with a return load.
Rest and rejuvenate: The 24-hour rest facilities include clean, modern showers (with under-floor heating), an outdoor gym, a private meeting room, a lounge with a flat screen TV and the "Goods Bar", which serves local ales and provides a cosy space to relax and watch sports.
Secure parking: Along with 24-hour CCTV surveillance, the site provides sleeper vans and overnight parking for up to 85 HGVs, and long-term parking is also available.
The privilege of membership: Their Privilege Card programme offers a host of benefits, which include:
· Points earned on fuel and food
· Free Wi-Fi
· Tea and coffee for £1
· Discounts on meeting room bookings
· Shop promotions
A Holistic Approach to Service
Established in 1988, this family-run business subscribes to an ethical approach, ensuring that alongside taking care of the patrons, their operations are in accordance with the needs and wellbeing of both the local community and the environment. In summing up their decision to award the top gong to the Chippenham Pit Stop, the judges praised both their ethical practices and excellent facilities, noting that it felt like a very "upmarket establishment" overall.
Note: The 2017 runner-up award went to the Route 74 Truckstop at Lesmahagow, while the Lodge Farm Café near Holbeach was also highly recommended.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching loads and return load jobs with available drivers. Over 5,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.