The Racecourse, Newton Road, Kingsteighnton, South Devon.
LOCATED————————————–Newton Abbot Racecourse lies less than one mile north east of Newton Abbot town centre.
ORIGINAL SITE——————————Grass land within Newton Abbot horse racecourse.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————–May 1974
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–May 2nd 1974
Greyhound Racing only.
LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT———-Independent
All venues covered would have to be licensed with the government, licensed suggested in this section would refer to tracks operating under NGRC Rules.
INSIDE OR OUTSIDE HARE TYPE——-Inside Sumner
Please note that the Electric Hare suggested is only a guidance and would have been in operation for a certain amount of time at this venue. Although it is not necessarily guaranteed that it was operational all the time, as other types of lure may have been used and updated as time progressed.
DISTANCES———————————–325, 482, 525 and 762 yards.
Please note that most racing venues distances had become varied throughout the years, the ones given above were at once point set and offers only a guidence to the track size.
Please note that alterations at most racing venues throughout its existence would see that the circumference of the track would vary, the one shown above offers only a guidance to the track size.
BIG RACE NAMES—————————Newton Abbot Oaks and The Derby.
STADIUM SHARED WITH—————–Horse Racing.
LAST MEETING——————————October 7th 2005.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-October 2005.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
STADIUM DEMOLITION——————–In the weeks following its closure.
BUILT ON SITE——————————-Nothing, land returned to grassland.
In some cases, structure’s that originally covered the venue after the stadium had been demolished, may have been themselves demolished too, so the one described is more likely to be the one which now presently covers the site.
EVIDENCE LEFT TODAY——————–Some disturbed earth more evident shown on google earth maps.
FURTHER COMMENTS———————The founders of this greyhound racing venue, had links with the old halfway greyhound stadium at Kingskerwell a small town just outside of Torquay.
Greyhound Racing had first featured in Newton Abbot during the late 1920’s and early thirties, on a circuit known as the Recreation Greyhound Track, a venue located within shouting distance of the town centre. But in modern times a second track rose from the ashes of another doomed track that once existed in South Devon.
Don Plummer a licensee, and businessman Peter Brennan, had discussed ambitions to open a new greyhound track locally, after the closure of The Halfway Track at Kingskerwell in November 1971. The Halfway Track was a small horseshoe type track, which operated directly opposite The Hare and Hounds Public House, were Don Plummer had been the licensee. It had taken them more than two years to find the right venue, the venue eventually becoming unique in the history of Greyhound Racing, as its location was a grazing meadow within the horse racing circuit of Newton Abbot Racecourse, one mile east of the town centre.
What was unique is that never before had a greyhound track been located amidst a horse race circuit in the UK before. Only in recent times has a greyhound track been constructed once more within a horse race circuit, like the one at Towcester which opened in December 2014. By early 1974 permission for Greyhound Racing had been granted, and development began by laying a sanded track at a cost of one thousand pounds, the sand described as a fine silt sand laid over the track’s circumference of 440 yards. An old double decker bus was purchased, its use was to house the judge’s box, the timekeeper and the photo finish equipment There was also the construction of a temporary stand, temporary meaning it had to be removed in the event of horse race meetings. There was even a caravan set up to house the totalisator equipment. Its inaugural meeting came on a Thursday evening of the 2nd of May 1974, with a special charity event arranged by the local Lions Club, with the intention of raising an expected £2,000 for the Newton Abbot Hospital Geriatrics Ward.
The night of the event did not exactly go to plan, adverse weather conditions reduced the largely expected crowd to just around 500. Unfortunately, the target figure hoped fell way short, to just £300, with the majority of the cash having been guaranteed donations from local businesses prior to the meeting.
The following Monday brought with it a lovely Spring evening, when another 500 racegoers attended an eight-race event. Even this meeting wasn’t without its demons, as the first race became delayed due to a fault with the traps, and the fourth race became void due to an escaped greyhound joining the race, not only that, the photo finish failed to work also. Throughout the tracks existence it had always operated as an independent track, with meetings consisting of six dog races contested over distances of 325, 482, 525 and 762 yards, with the hounds chasing an inside Sumner type hare. Its big race attractions had been The Newton Abbot Oaks, and The Derby, both run over the 525-yard trip.
In the tracks latter years, Newton Abbot had had its fair share of problems, sometimes suffering from suggested sabotage and vandalism. Closure came due to not only poor attendances and limited racing entries, but for the fact the racecourse wanted rid of the greyhound track. The promoter had been unable to agree terms regarding a new contract, with the lease being terminated immediately, and a fourteen-day eviction notice was ordered. It was later revealed that the racecourse wanted rid of the greyhound track due to them having to widen the horse race circuit to meet safety regulations.
The tracks final meeting came on the 7th of October 2005, with the following weeks witnessing the dismantling of all its outbuildings and fittings, leaving nothing more than just the sanded track. The following years had seen nature contribute to the disappearance of the circuit too, leaving nothing but scars of disrupted earth in the shape of a greyhound track, only visible from satellite views.
Today, Newton Abbot racecourse still pleasantly thrives, with its vast car parks and huge stands, unmistakable when heading out of the town along Newton Road towards Kingsteignton.