Teversal Visitor Centre
September 9, 2015

Nestled in rural Nottinghamshire is a little village called Teversal. It’s near Mansfield, close to the Derbyshire border, and is surrounded by the Teversal Trails, walking and cycling trails made up of the former railway lines that date back to the days this was colliery country. It also happens to be the place that was home to Lady Chatterley in D.H.Lawrence’s novel. It’s also home to one of the strangest, yet strangely great, little eateries I’ve ever been to.

Nottinghamshire countryside

We were in Teversal camping with our friends, who have been there before. They told us a story of walking in the driving rain on their previous visit and out of the torrent discovering the Teversal Trails Visitor Centre. It was here that they warmed their cold bones with steaming mugs of tea and a basic, reheated, pie with mushy peas and granule gravy. And even a sausage for the dog.

Obviously, we wanted to see this place. Who wouldn’t want to after a story like that? So on a recent visit we stopped there during a walk to see it for ourselves. It certainly lived up to the picture they’d painted. A brick built building that looked more like a local football club house than a quaint cafe. Inside, a lino floor, plastic chairs, and tables covered with plastic tablecloths. Sounds a bit rubbish hey?

Teversal Visitor Centre

Inside Teversal Visitor Centre

And then you look a bit closer and you see that each table has been carefully decorated with a miniature vase, the walls are covered in the area’s history and community notices, and – most importantly – it’s full of people. Locals enjoying a bacon ‘cobb’ (we’re in Nottinghamshire, you’ve got to call them that), walkers popping in with dogs in tow, families, couples, all sorts. And it’s run by volunteers, some of them former miners apparently, all keeping it running like clockwork. Talk about a community hub!

The menu’s simple – bacon and sausage cobbs, beans on toast, pies and peas, sausage rolls, cup-a-soups and toast. For drinks there’s tea, coffee, cappuccino, chocolate, and even latte. Oh, and oxo!

The menu at Teversal Visitor Centre

Obviously we tried the pie. Steak and ale for me and Mr M, with mushy peas and a miniature jug of gravy. Apparently some days the men are on duty, and some days it’s the women – and the gravy differs accordingly. The pie was bought in – from a local baker apparently – and reheated by the gruff man behind the counter, as were the peas I imagine. Both tasty, not gourmet, not expensive (£2 to be precise). The gravy was made from granules and was pretty thin and watery. I’m told apparently the ladies make it a bit thicker.

Pie and peas at Teversal Visitor Centre

It certainly wasn’t an award-winning dining experience. Even our friends puzzled over whether the pie had tasted better last time, and whether that was purely because it was their salvation from a long walk in the rain. But as I munched on my pie, sipping my mug of builder’s tea, I took in a place that is clearly at the centre of Teversal.

A plate full of bacon prepared to order especially for some rather pretty little dogs, as opposed to the cold pre-cooked sausages on a tupperware on the counter for other canines whose owners are less fussy. Two old dears eating teacakes on one table, a couple studying a map of walking trails on another, and our rather rowdy foursome complete with rather full-of-beans Weimarana on another. Men of few words doing their duty at the counter, mixing up the gravy granules for eager visitors, with another lady who was clearly a volunteer restocking the freezer with goodies.

Pie and gravy at Teversal Visitor Centre

A place with real heart. A place where it’s not really about the food, but about what food can do – nourish, replenish, and turn somewhere into the heart of a community.

We paid for everything we had at Teversal and I’m sure they had no idea I planned to write about it. Don’t think they’d be too fussed even if they did!

3 thoughts on “Teversal Visitor Centre

  1. Hi Ellen
    I have just come across your web page and comments about Teversal Visitors Centre and I admire your reporting skills. I must point out that the visitor centre would have closed except for the dedication of all our volunteers. We don’t pretend to be “The Ritz” but hope to provide a safe haven for visitors, locals and tourists alike with light snacks at a reasonable costs and masses of information about the area. We also have an extra room that we like to call our arts and crafts room where activities range from painting classes, chair cane restoration, eastern dancing and U3A activities make full use of the facility with free room hire.
    I realise that the volunteers produce gravy in different consistancies but take you to task that ladies make it better and thicker. In general I feel that your comments were fair and unbiased and an overall picture from your “scribblings” were good and accurate and if you visit again incognito, on a different day, perhaps you may see another side to the centre with all the friendly faces and the “mine” of information available.
    Please keep up all the good work you do with your site and excellent photos and reviews of the places you chance to visit on your travels. P.S. In Nottinghamshire we say bacon cobs, bacon butties not baps or rolls etc.

    1. HI Trevor, thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog. I really did enjoy our visit to Teversal Visitors Centre. If providing a safe haven for visitors, locals and tourists alike with light snacks at a reasonable costs and masses of information is your aim, then you’ve certainly achieved it. We were made so welcome by everyone, and it was a great part of our day out. I now feel I need to go and try mushy peas and mint sauce straight away!
      Thanks for reading and for such kind words. Best, Ellen

  2. Forgot to mention that in this neck of the woods we have mint sauce to go with mushy peas.
    As a stranger to the area if you’ve never had mushy peas and mint sauce then you’ve never lived!

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