Barton Stadium, Wharton Road, Wharton, Winsford, Cheshire.
LOCATED————————————Situated three quarter of a mile east of Winsford town centre in the district of Wharton, at the rear of the Top House public house.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–A football pitch dating back to 1883 the home to Over Wanderers.
DATE CONSTRUCTED——————–Developed as a football ground after the Second World War.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-Late 1940’s.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–June 18th 1970, a hound called Carousel won the first race.
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———————————–212, 515 and 719 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 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————————–Winsford Derby usually run in the month of October.
STADIUM SHARED WITH—————–Amateur football with Winsford United FC.
LAST MEETING——————————January 1998.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————January 14th 1998.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
BUILT ON SITE——————————-N/A
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——————-Disturbed earth is still evident around both bends and also rusty lamp standards were still evident in my last visit a few years ago. The tote booths adjacent to the main is also still evident.
The most southern ex-greyhound racing venue in the northwestern category is the one at Winsford. It was known as Barton Stadium, the home of the towns amateur football club, a venue situated in the district of Wharton. Wharton is found roughly three quarters of a mile west of Winsford town centre, with the stadium obscured from the main road, hidden behind The Top House Public House.
The original site began as a sports field dating back as far as 1883 when it was used by an amateur football team known as Over Wanderers. After a few seasons The Wanderers changed their name to Winsford, a totally different set up to the present club Winsford United who began life in 1913. The football club had been formed by a certain Mr Barton, hence the name Barton Stadium, who was prepared to invest his own cash to build a successful football club. It was the period between the two World Wars that witnessed the development of the stadium, and also a successful spell for the football club. But the Second World War had seen a downturn in fortunes at The Barton Stadium, with the ground being stripped bare of all its main features, this due to the government policy requiring building materials to help aid The War Effort.
After the war, the football club became a limited company, and during the 1950’s more success was achieved on the field, with attendances regularly exceeding the 3,000 mark. But it was during the early days of 1970 that the football clubs committee accepted an approach by two greyhound racing enthusiasts to stage their sport at the venue. A grass circuit was laid around the perimeter of the football pitch, along with the installation of an outside Sumner hare, at a cost of nearly ten thousand pounds.
Winsford began operations as an independent track, and staged its first meeting on the 18th of June 1970, with a healthy crowd of 700 turning out to witness a greyhound called Carousel win the first event over the 500-yard trip. More improvements came with a totalisator system being installed a few months later, along with tote booths and track lighting. It ran five dog races over regraded distances of 292, 515 And 719 Yards, but it did eventually switch to an inside hare system in time, with The Winsford Greyhound Derby becoming its main attraction.
Unfortunately, greyhound racing never reached its thirtieth anniversary, with the traps opening for the last time in January 1998. The Barton Greyhound Stadium, unlike the majority of greyhound tracks that disappeared under developers plans, is still very much active on the football side of things.
Gladly some evidence keeps those Greyhound Racing memories lingering, as a handful of track lighting standards still pinpoints where the back straight was, along with the tote booths, although abandoned still receives a touch of paint now and again, and also the grassed over mounds of earth still marks out were the top and bottom bends used to be.