Voluntary Park, Glenmuir Place, Whitletts, Ayr, Scotland.
LOCATED————————————About one and a half miles north east of Ayr set back off the A719 just north of the Ayr Horse Racecourse.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–Farm grazing land levelled just after the Second World War to make an enclosed football ground.
DATE CONSTRUCTED——————–Between 1979 and 1983 for greyhound racing.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-Post War years.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–August 6th 1983.
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——Firstly an inside Sumner then an outside McKee.
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———————————–300, 500 and 700 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.
CIRCUMFERENCE—————————About 400 yards.
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—————————Ayrshire Derby, The Ayr Gold Cup and The Ayr Easter Cup.
STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Whitletts Victoria Football Club.
LAST MEETING——————————-November 21st 2010.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-February 2011, between these dates schooling trials were run.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
STADIUM DEMOLITION——————-July 2011.
BUILT ON SITE——————————-New housing on Victoria Crescent.
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——————-Nothing known of.
The Scottish coastal town of Ayr became another statistic to join the list of towns that hosted two Greyhound Racing venues. The first track was that of Tam’s Brigg, a venue which had ceased racing in December of 1972, before being totally demolished in October 1973, to make way for a new Curling Rink.
The second of its tracks began to flourish five years later, after the council had given the go ahead for the town to host Greyhound Racing once again. The venue earmarked happened to be a disused football ground known as Voluntary Park, located in the district of Whitletts, one and a half miles north east of Ayr’s town centre.
It had been once the home of Whitletts Victoria, who had gone out of existence in the mid 1970’s, due to continuous vandalism at the ground, and also being poorly supported. The original site had been farm land, but by the end of the Second World War, a group of locals began to level the site, so they could use it as a football pitch. Throughout the next thirty years or so, little progress had been made regarding the development of the ground, other than the construction of earth banks, a covered stand, a clubhouse and an odd few outbuildings used for storage.
Once the football club had gone, work began removing the cluster of earth banks that surrounded the pitch, a requirement that was needed to make way for the oval shaped greyhound track that would be eventually laid. It was then that the newly turfed track was laid around the perimeter of the football pitch, with both bends being sanded. Suddenly development was suspended after a fire in 1980, which had gutted the clubhouse, and it would take until October 1982 before things started moving again.
Ayr Greyhound Stadium opened up as an independent track, with its inaugural meeting coming on the 6th of August 1983, with a hound called Dingle winning the first ever race. Meetings consisted of six dog races, contested over distances of 300, 500 and 700 yards, with the hounds chasing an inside Sumner type hare, before eventually switching to the more regular outside McKee type, in its later days. Its big race events were, The Ayr Easter Cup, The Ayr Gold Cup and also The Ayrshire Derby run over 500 yards during the month of July.
The Millennium had brought with it tougher safety measures at sporting venues, these measures becoming the main instigator towards the tracks demise. Inspectors had found that work was necessary to upgrade the stadium, mainly to the clubhouse and other areas, with an estimated cost of repairs totalling around £440,000. The council had insisted that if repairs were not undertaken, they would not renew the lease, therefore leaving the venue facing imminent closure. The cost of the repairs gave no other option than for the Greyhound Racing promoters and also a junior football club, who now shared the ground to vacate the stadium.
Unaware to the public, Voluntary Park had run its final meeting on the Saturday afternoon of the 21st of November 2010, with a dog called Ziggy winning the very last race. Although this date had not been set, suspicions began after the next three Saturday meetings were called off, firstly due to frosty conditions, even though the track had under soil heating, and then another excuse explaining that there was a shortage of entries, soon triggered off concerns amongst its regulars. Although the tracks promoters had been given permission to continue staging trials, it certainly became clear amongst others, that it was never intended to race again.
By the end of February 2011, all activities had totally ceased, and by July all hopes of Greyhound Racing ever returning, were extinguished when all outbuildings on the site became demolished. Anything of use was cleared from the grounds, the remaining rubble lay motionless for a number of years following, before a new housing estate on Victoria Crescent covered the site.
A programme, photograph or even memorabilia for this track is required for this page, if you can help please contact me.