Wheatsheaf Stadium, Altofts Lane, Whitwood, Nr Castleford, West Yorkshire.
LOCATED————————————Located about half a mile north of junction 31 of the M62 just about two miles south west of Castleford, set behind The New Wheatsheaf Public House on Altofts Lane.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–An abandoned section of land once owned by the Coal board, which was home to a cluster of old mineshafts.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-1939
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————-Licensed under Betting & Lotteries Act from April 1939. Operated until 18 February 1971. Re-opened 01 July 1977.
LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT———-Mostly independent but had a spell at NGRC between July 1985 and June 1987.
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———————————–100, 275, 460, 650 and 835 metres.
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 guidance 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————————–Red Mills and Strongbow Cider sponsored competitions.
STADIUM SHARED WITH—————–Speedway Racing for two seasons 1979 and 1980.
LAST MEETING——————————February 18th 2001.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————February 2001.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
STADIUM DEMOLITION——————October 2001.
BUILT ON SITE——————————-Industrial units.
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——————Most of the site became swallowed up with new industrial units, put evidence of this venue remains with mounds of rubble and a section of trees.
FURTHER COMMENTS——————-The close by Wheatsheaf Inn no doubt at one time contributed to the stadium’s name.
A three thousand capacity crowd watched Scurlogue Champ priced at 1-4 win by 18 lengths over the 835-metre trip during November 1985.
Whitwood Greyhound Stadium was situated two miles southwest of Castleford in West Yorkshire, found within easy reach of the M62, just half a mile north of junction 31. It was during 1938 that a greyhound track began to develop on the site of an old coal mine, the abandoned land being riddled with disused pit shafts and huge piles of rubble.
The venue became known as the Wheatsheaf Greyhound Track, named after the Public House that lay close by, and began life as a flapping track, staging its first meeting during 1939. It had been purposely built to host Greyhound Racing, and that is how it operated for decades until the venue closed for a number of years during the 1970’s. It reopened for business once again in July 1979, but this time as a multi-purpose sports venue, as Grass Track Speedway was contested on a circuit constructed within the infield of the greyhound track.
This venture continued until the following Summer, but a dispute between landlord and tenant, forced the speedway to cease in July 1980. After changing its name to The Whitwood Greyhound Stadium, it closed in 1982, but not too alarmingly as the tracks owner had announced that he was in a position to invest and upgrade the stadium. His first aim was to dig up the old familiar D shaped turfed circuit, a move which would see 3,000 tons of earth being shifted to make way for a more regular oval shaped track, with the new running surface being that of the new silica sand type. New track lights became added, along with the car park being tarmacked, the judge’s box being repositioned to assist betting viewing for the public, and extensive refurbishment to the licensed bars.
But things were to change even more in July 1985, when the track was accepted by the NGRC to run under its rules on a permit scheme. This move had seen Whitwood become the first track in the north to do so, since the then closed Halifax track had done so in 1978. The New changes had also seen seventy new kennels constructed within the tracks boundaries just to coincide with regulations. But Whitewood’s promising future did not go to plan, as the track reverted back to an independent one eighteen months later, the main reasons being increased costs for registrations and license fees had not gone down to well with trainers.
Yet it was during its NGRC reign in November 1985 that more than 3,000 racegoers turned out to see the great Scurlogue Champ smash the track record over 835 metre trip, the famous hound winning by a distance of 18 length at a price of 4 to 1 on. Regular events were run with six dog races, contested over distances of 100, 275, 460, 650 and 835 metres, with the hounds chasing an inside Sumner type hare. Its big race attractions were The Strongbow Cider Sponsored meeting, and The Spring Cup run over the 460-metre trip.
Further uses of the stadium had seen a Golfing Range marked out within the infield of the greyhound track. By the late 1990’s the future of the stadium looked in doubt, after an announcement had confirmed that the council had purchased the venue with a view of possible redevelopment.
In 2000 the tracks promoters approached the council regarding the renewal of the lease, but terms could not be agreed, possibly down to the council having other ideas for the use of the site in the near future. The closure of the track had been expected, with its final meeting being a charity one, set for the 18th of February 2001.
By October of that year the venue had been demolished, yet the site would lay abandoned for a good number of years before any further activities took place. Eventually part of the site became covered with new industrial units, but most of the land for years after became nothing more than mounds of earth and a cluster of trees. Its once location is found set back just off Altofts Lane, more pinpointed at the rear of The New Wheatsheaf Public House, with all the track having disappeared beneath newly erected business units.