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Winning Post services


A38 northbound between Exeter and Plymouth

Signposted from the road.



map and directions


Single site located between junctions on one side of the road.


Opposite Exeter Racecourse was a small service area, but it has grown rather a lot in recent years. Southbound access is technically possible via the Dunchideock turning, but the facility is not signposted for this direction.


Catering: Brightside, Costa Drive Thru, McDonald's Drive Thru Outdoor Space: Grass area behind restaurant (care needed); connection to Haldon Forest Park Forecourt: Esso, Londis, Greggs, Costa Express, f'real Milkshakes, LPG

Parking Prices

Parking within the Costa car park is limited to 3 hours maximum stay and is strictly enforced whilst parking within the McDonald's car park is limited to 90 minutes maximum stay and is strictly enforced by MET Parking.

A dedicated large vehicle parking area is also available at the centre of the site and is free for the first hour. After this, all vehicles must pay £1 per hour and £13 for up to 24 hours.

Prices are paid using PayByPhone or by using the pay machines in each car park. The location code is 805109.

These fees are strictly enforced by Euro Car Parks.

This information is provided to us by third parties. You should always check with staff on site.

Contact Details

🏢 Address:
Winning Post Filling Station
A38 Haldon Hill

Trivia and History

A black and white photo of a BP-branded petrol station next to a main road, with another building in the distance.
The Happy Eater and BP forecourt in 1986.

Historically this site was known as Haldon Hill services, but the current owners tend to call it Winning Post - a reference to the adjacent racecourse. It has also been known as Kennford, not to be confused with the previous service area.

Although there is a direct access and exit from the A38, there is also an entry and exit to the local road network meaning light vehicles heading southbound can access the site by using the underpass at the Dunchideock exit.

The service area has a regular public bus service, which turns off the A38 northbound and stops inside the service area. With no footbridge, a public transport user would need to walk up to the next junction to catch the bus home.

The Two Restaurants

A white building next to a car park, with a sign saying Haldon Forest Diner.
The former southbound Happy Eater is still trading as a Diner.

The northbound side started as the Haldon Road House, positioned next to the Harker Lane turn. By 1975, the road house had been rebuilt and had become one of the original Welcome Break restaurants. It had a tall, pointed roof, and was positioned alongside a BP petrol station. The rebuilding may have been connected to the A38 becoming a dual carriageway, which came very close to the old building.

The southbound restaurant was built next to a track leading to the restaurant in 1978 - this may have been planned as a Welcome Break, but around the same time all of the Welcome Breaks (including the northbound one) became Happy Eaters.

The northbound restaurant was rebuilt in 1986 to look similar to the southbound; it was painted white with a low roof. In 1995 both restaurants became Little Chefs. The northbound Little ChefHistory had a conference room, and there were plans to build a Travelodge at the back of the car park.

The southbound Little ChefHistory closed in 2007, becoming Haldon Forest Diner. The signs calling it a service station were removed, in fact a sign immediately before the exit tells traffic there is a lay-by to use further ahead. The restaurant shares its exit with a small lane and an emergency access to the racecourse. The Happy Eater's famous play equipment was moved to nearby Kennford in 2005, where it's now the star of the appropriately named Orange Elephant Ice Cream Parlour.

The northbound Little Chef closed in 2012 and two years later became the Route 5 diner. This was the only one in the chain not numbered after the road which serves it, as they already had a Route 38.

This Route 5 restaurant was acquired by Loungers and closed on 21 November 2022, reopening as the UK's first Brightside, their Exeter branch, on 10 February 2023. The new restaurant chain claims to be heavily inspired by the early days of Little Chef and Happy Eater.

Recent Developments

A new Esso forecourt and sales shop replaced the previous, smaller, BP forecourt.

The petrol station was formerly operated by Chartman Retail then MRH and included a SPAR store. MFG had proposed to change this to a Budgens but instead decided on Londis. This refurbishment was completed in winter 2019, where a Greggs store was also opened.

A large expansion to the service area was proposed in 2017 by TRM Land Promotions. The land behind Route 5 began to be developed in 2019, with parking for cars and HGVs, a large McDonald's Drive Thru and a Costa Drive Thru being built.

The McDonald's Drive Thru opened on 26 August 2020 and is operated by owners of the MFG forecourt, whilst the Costa followed in September and is directly operated by Costa. Both units are expected to eventually be open 24 hours, and are accessed from the lane leading to the Dunchideock turn.


Kennford (southbound, 2 miles)
Exeter (M5, 8 miles)
Services on the A38Peartree Cross (13 miles)

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