More than 100 people sought refuge at a pub high on Bodmin Moor overnight after heavy snowfall hit the A30, with many stranded motorists abandoning their cars.
Some of those reaching the Jamaica Inn in Cornwall had trudged through snow for several miles after 4.7in (12cm) of it brought ‘chaos’ to the cross-country route.
Sammy Wheeler, 25, the pub’s general manager, said groups and families with young children arrived in droves after cars got stuck on a nearby stretch of the A30.
People staying at the Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall are pictured this morning
Families with young children arrived in droves after cars got stuck on a stretch of the A30
Makeshift dormitories with mattresses on the floors were set up in other parts of the pub
Each of the inn’s 36 rooms was full, with some being shared by complete strangers last night
She said: ‘A lot of people have abandoned their cars. Some of them have walked a good three, four or five miles. People were fed up of being in a cold car.’
Ms Wheeler added that many people were running out of fuel. Each of the inn’s 36 rooms was full, with some being shared by complete strangers last night.
Meanwhile makeshift dormitories with mattresses on the floors were set up in other parts of the pub, including 15 beds in the restaurant another five in the lounge.
Paul Drye, 54, of St Austell, Cornwall, was heading home after working in Dorchester, Dorset, yesterday afternoon when he became stuck on the A30 around 3.30pm.
He said: ‘There had been a bit of heavy snow but while everything was moving it was fine, but as soon as there was a few incidents up ahead everything ground to a halt.
‘You never know how long these things are going to last, whether it will be moving in two minutes or four hours as it turned out.’
Mr Drye arrived at the Jamaica Inn around 7.30pm and was met with a real ‘cross-section’ of people including dogs, children and truck drivers.
‘People were still arriving until the early hours of the morning, people who had left their cars and walked, a couple miles some of them,’ he said.
Hundreds of cars were stuck on the A30 last night for up to ten hours while travelling in the wintry weather which caused chaos across the country
As darkness fell last night drivers were still stuck, some behind a jackknifed lorry, with no idea as to how or when they would make it home from work
Highways England confirmed a plough and a gritter had been sent to assist the stranded motorists – some of whom have got out of their cars and started a snowball fight
The Jamaica Inn staff were like a ‘well-oiled machine’, they provided mattresses, blankets and pillows for everybody and stayed up all night stoking fires, Mr Dyre said.
Ms Wheeler said: ‘I have no sheets left and I’m sure my head housekeeper will kill me in the morning when she hears about it.
‘I’ve stolen all duvets and everything from everywhere possible. There’s no beds left but we are now letting people sleep everywhere and I’m providing them with pillows and blankets.’
Spirits were said to be ‘incredibly high’ among the guests, who included around a dozen children and an eight-month-old baby.
The pub’s seven staff, including two chefs, were pulling out the stops to make sure all were comfortable – although they were ‘in for a long one,’ Ms Wheeler said.
‘Credit to my staff – a shout-out goes to all of them,’ she added.
The area is under a yellow weather warning of snow and ice until this afternoon and efforts continued through the night to clear the A30 and get people moving again.
Speaking at 7.30am this morning Mr Dyre said some travellers had already left to walk back to their cars and that from the Inn they could see traffic on the A30 was moving again.
Makeshift beds beds laid out last night at Jamaica Inn, made famous by Daphne du Maurier in her classic novel, on Bodmin Moor for motorists who are stuck on the A30 due to snow
The view from the Jamaica Inn pub on Bodmin Moor last night as it laid out makeshift beds
Hundreds of cars were stuck on the A30 last night for up to ten hours while travelling in the wintry weather which caused chaos across the country.
A white out yesterday afternoon stopped cars in their tracks at Temple as thick snow settled up to 3ft high and drivers were forced to abandon their cars.
As darkness fell last night drivers were still stuck, some behind a jackknifed lorry, with no idea as to how or when they would make it home from work.
Highways England were urged to help stranded motorists, including those stuck with young children as drivers reported the roads were ‘like an ice rink’ on the A30 which runs between London and Honiton in east Devon.
Highways England confirmed a plough and a gritter had been sent to assist the stranded motorists – some of whom have got out of their cars and started a snowball fight.
But after hours on the roads many became concerned elderly relatives would spend the night there.
Cornwall Council said there was an ‘intensive effort’ to clear the roads while relatives of the stranded urged authorities to act faster, including those with elderly parents on the roads.
Driver Dominic Burton said about 200 vehicles were trapped on the southbound carriage of the A30 near Okehampton in ‘doomsday’ scenes.
The Jamaica Inn on the A30 last night has laid out mattresses on the floor for stranded drivers
People are being warned against travel in the morning on uncleared routes. Some were still on the roads at 11pm, having been there since the mid afternoon.
Desperate drivers urged police to send advice over whether or not they should keep their engines on while a pub named the Jamaica Inn laid out mattresses on the floor for stranded motorists.
Lee Flagg wrote on Twitter: ‘My sister has been sat on the A30 for 5 hours. 2 young children in the car with no food, milk etc. Can anyone actually give an update that means anything??’
Another man added: ‘What advice do you have for people who look likely to be spending the night on the A30.
‘How to keep warm? Should they keep the engine running? How long will that last for? How can they get water? Saying ‘we’re working as hard as we can’ is great, but need a bit more.’
Kind drivers on the A30 with four wheel drive cars began to tow others to get up a hill, around 8pm yesterday evening. Drivers described the response as a ‘shambles’.
One driver said on Twitter: ‘Ground to a halt at 2.30pm and it’s now 8.20pm and have moved two miles. No snowploughs, no gritters, no police support, it’s a shambles.’
The head of roads policing in Devon and Dorset, Chief Inspector Adrian Leisk, said: ‘The snow is heading eastwards and will cause significant disruption tonight. Please be prepared and avoid all but absolutely essential travel.’
Dominic Burton, 26, was trapped with more than 20 other cars on the A30 at Okehampton
He warned people to stay with their vehicles and to check before making a journey. Concerned car owners said they had only moved a few miles in hours.
Dominic Burton, 26, was been stuck on the A30 from 4.30pm until 11pm after a lorry jackknifed at the top of a hill on the road at Okehampton.
Mr Burton from Barnstaple left work early at 4.30pm in a bid to try and get home before the worst of the snow fell.
But hours later after the lorry got stuck the snow has built up around cars, trapping them. Rescue workers were bringing in snow chains to move the lorry last night.
There were hazardous driving conditions reported across Cornwall with multiple accidents.
Police said people were abandoning their cars on the A30 at Highgate Hill and walking through the snow.
Devon and Cornwall Police urged people to stay in their cars to keep warm.
At around 8.15pm yesterday, the force tweeted: ‘We have further reports of vehicles stuck on the A39 in Cornwall due to snow.
Cars were being abandoned by drivers who could not continue their journey onwards
‘Please stay with your vehicle and keep as warm as possible. Gritter trucks are working their way inwards from Winnards Perch and Wadebridge to get to stranded drivers.’
Mr Burton told MailOnline: ‘I have travelled around nine miles since I left work but we are stuck now. It’s really not a nice place to be right now.
‘The lorry has jackknifed at the top of the hill and there’s a recovery truck there – but the snow has been building up around us while we have been sat here. I’ve tried to move and I can’t.
‘There’s about 25 of us – pretty much everyone is just trying to get home from work. I’ve got another hour and a half to drive – but that’s in normal conditions.’
Mr Burton, who started a new job yesterday, has seen gritters travelling southbound but nothing on the northbound carriageway.
One person wrote on Twitter: ‘Have moved only 100 yards in two hours! It’s now 5.38pm and no end in sight of this situation. Oh, and it’s still snowing!’
Some were stuck for hours in snow on Bodmin Moor.
Paul Newman said when he reached the A30 at Carland Cross heading eastbound the snow started to fall ‘very, very heavily’ and the traffic started to move slowly until it came to a standstill near Blissland.
Cars stranded on the A30 with dozens being stuck behind a jackknifed lorry at Okehampton
‘We believe the stoppage is somewhere near Kennards Cross. There is a lorry across the road. Now that everybody has stopped it is going to be difficult for lorries to get going again,’ he said.
‘At the moment we’ve no idea what’s going on really… the chap in the car in front of us was just throwing snowballs to his dog!’
A couple stuck in their car on the dual carriageway after a sudden dump of snow fear they face a cold night in their vehicle.
Jak Roome was travelling to Wadebridge, Cornwall, to celebrate his 29th birthday with his partner, Jack Slymm, 27, when the roads ahead ground to a halt.
Mr Slymm said that 3ft of snow fell quickly and the road beneath froze, making it impossible to tackle the hill in front.
He said that many cars had attempted to brave the conditions but kept sliding back, and official advice online urged drivers on the road to stay in their cars.
Mr Slymm, a hair stylist from Bristol, said: ‘We’re currently about five miles north of Camelford and about 10 miles south of Bude on A39.
‘We haven’t moved for over three hours, the snow just came down really hard and really quick and the ground froze underneath it.
Cars and lorries had come to a complete standstill along the A30 yesterday evening
Highways England teams were mobilised while others reported being stuck at Bodmin Moor
‘The snow at the side of the road is about 3ft deep and anyone trying to get anywhere is just sliding. One gritter just came past and it didn’t make the slightest bit of difference’
Mr Slymm said that he had recently taken his car to the garage, and luckily was completing the drive in a brand new grey Mini Cooper.
He continued: ‘We’re going to be here all night I think, luckily we’ve got 3/4 tank but the people next to us only have half a tank left.
‘Everyone is helping each other and asking if each other are ok, if someone runs out of fuel we’ll take them in.’
To make matters worse, Mr Slymm and Mr Slymm have recently bought a puppy and are travelling with the young animal – and have to keep braving the conditions to get it water.
‘We’ve got a 13-week old puppy with us and we’re worried about her’, Jak said. ‘We didn’t have any water in the car so we had to melt some snow.
‘Luckily we had some food with us, but we can’t leave her outside for too long as it’s too cold.
‘No one has told us anything, but the traffic report says to stay with your car and wait for the weather to clear.
‘We’re trying to get to Wadebridge, we’ve rented a house for all of us. It’s my 29th birthday today, I’ll look back and laugh at it one day.’
People were seen getting out of their cars and throwing snowballs on the A30
Snow was falling thick and fast in Plymouth last night while drivers remain stuck on the roads
Cars stuck on the A30 as vehicles were stranded. All but essential travel should be avoided, police said
Drivers were saved by a plough and a gritter being sent in by Highways England yesterday
Elsewhere, Londoners have have been warned to be home by 9pm this evening as snow is set to hit the capital, after blizzards blasted the South West today causing travel chaos on roads and rail.
Workers and schoolchildren were told to leave early today as Britain endured up to three inches of snow in only 120 minutes, following the country’s coldest night in seven years.
And the Met Office has issued an amber warning for snow that carries a potential risk to life while Transport for London and Network Rail are telling passengers to get home by 9pm.
County officials in Devon had urged people to get home by 3pm, shortly after the start of an amber warning for snow in parts of Wales and South West England, bringing up to 2.8in (7cm) of snow in just two to three hours.
Meanwhile, about 400 students were stranded at Callywith College in Bodmin.
Principal Mark Wardle said buses to transport students had not been able to get to the sixth-form college, and catering staff were providing sausages, chips and beans to those waiting for assistance.