Wayside Cafe

The History of Wayside Cafe

The house attached to the Café was built in 1904 after a fire in 1898 destroyed the thatched dwelling that previously occupied the site, The property was known as ‘Smithhill’ at that time, changing it’s name to ‘Wayside’ a few years later.


The Café was built onto the side of the house in 1921 making it the oldest café still in existence in Widecombe. The original entrance was level with the front edge of the house, with the extended section being added in 1925.


In the early 1930’s the village Post Office and telephone exchange moved to Wayside from its original position at Southcombe Villas (near the Primary School). May Harvey was the Postmistress and her brother Andrew ran the Café. The two businesses’s continued to run side by side until 1971 when the post office moved back across the village to Manor Cottages. (Today, the Post Office is housed in the 'Shop on the Green'  so it's certainly moved around in its time!).


The Café was closed for a while during the War and during this time it served as a billet for the Oxford & Buckinghamshire regiment. The Widecombe village sign that sits opposite the car park was originally positioned in the entrance of the car park, but was taken down in 1939 (as were all signs in the War) and replaced where it stands today.


The Whale family purchased Wayside in 1979, reopened the Cafe in 1980, and now employ third generation family members.


If you have any memories of visiting the Cafe, at any time throughout it's long history, we would love to hear your story.