Halfway Greyhound Track, Newton Abbot Road, Kingskerwell, Nr Torquay, Devon.
LOCATED————————————Halfway between Newton Abbot and Torquay along side the A380 on the southern edge of Kingskerwell village opposite The Hare and Hounds Public House.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–Farm grazing land opposite The Halfway Inn and Cottage.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-February 1933.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————25 February 1933.
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———————————–250, 450 and 530 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—————————Nothing known of.
STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Nothing known of but its car park was a gathering for Scooter clubs during the 1960’s.
LAST MEETING——————————-November 1971.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-November 1971.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
STADIUM DEMOLITION——————-Early 1970’s.
BUILT ON SITE——————————-Housing found on Stadium Drive.
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——————-A perimeter wall on its southern boundaries somewhere behind the existing petrol station still exists, but it is difficult to locate because it has been overwhelmed with weeds and shrubbery.
FURTHER COMMENTS——————–The stadium was named because it lies virtually halfway between Newton Abbot and Torquay.
Another one of only a handful of greyhound tracks that operated in South Devon was the Halfway Greyhound Stadium. It was located on the southern outskirts of Kingskerwell, a village situated virtually half way between Torquay and Newton Abbot.
The first signs of greyhound racing at the venue began during 1928, after plans had been announced in the local press regarding the construction of a new venue that would not only host greyhound racing, but also Motorcycle Dirt Track Racing too. Even with so much publicity printed in the local press during that period, the idea unfortunately came as a huge disappointment as the project never got off the ground.
It would take another four years or so before a greyhound track eventually began to develop on a five acre section of farmland. The land lay hemmed in between a railway line and the busy A380 trunk road, directly opposite to The Halfway Inn, and The Halfway Cottage Toll House, with both buildings sharing the same name as the venue. But the enclosed triangular section of land that it was built on created a tight horseshoe shaped track, with early events being run just around the northern bend.
The venue’s first meeting came on Saturday 25th February 1933, and due to its location became very popular during the Summer months, with the added bonus of attracting holiday makers from nearby destinations such as Torquay and Paignton. The Halfway Track could boast of promoting three meetings per week, with as many as 10 Bookmakers standing per meeting, and even offering a tote system. It staged five dog races around the 250 yard two bend course, with the greyhounds competing behind a ball type hare system, with the lure pulled by a stationary motor car engine. In time the addition of the southern bend created four bends races, which in turn saw the introduction of the regular electric Sumner hare.
Halfway Track operated as a flapping track and would be owned throughout its existence by the same family. Although the track became used mainly for Greyhound Racing, Pony Racing would also feature now and again, with its facilities sometimes used for Scooter Rally gatherings during the 1960’s. Once the third and fourth bend was added, race distances would be run over 450 trip with a 530 yard trip added during its latter days. But again like most greyhound racing venue during the 1960’s, the Halfway track had seen a decline in attendances and entrants, enough to stop the track staging meetings during Winter months.
By the early seventies the track was struggling financially, it came as no surprise when it was announced that the site had been sold for redevelopment. The Halfway Greyhound Track staged its final meeting during November 1971, and soon after, the venue became demolished to make way for a new housing estate. Although the stadium has now and truly gone, the site of were it once lay is quite easy to find. The original Halfway Public House no longer serves beverages, although its presence is still there, having been transformed in to a living accommodation many years ago.
Today, a more modern Hare and Hounds Public House more or less pinpoints the venue, located roughly half a mile south of the village, set back along side the busy A380 main road, and also convinces us that we are in the right place as the pubs placard pictures a white greyhound wearing the number one jacket in full flight. Opposite The Hare And Hounds lies a housing estate, it is here that The Halfway Greyhound Track once thrived.
The only remnant left of the track is a dog leg shaped southern boundary wall which lies almost hidden by on growing shrubbery, and it is this that separates the housing estate from the land occupied by a fuel station. But the true site location is pinpointed by the present day Stadium Drive, no doubt this access road could quite easily have cut the track in half fifty years or so ago.