Bideford Football Club, The Sports Ground, Kingsley Road, Bideford, North Devon.
LOCATED————————————About half a mile north of Bideford town centre, just off Kingsley Road opposite a Morrison’s Superstore.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–Unoccupied land belonging to York House.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-1929 for amateur football.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–January 21st 1988.
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——Outside 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———————————–420 and 700 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—————————Nothing known of.
STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Bideford Football Club.
LAST MEETING——————————-Mid August 1988.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-Still home to Bideford Football Club.
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——————-Nothing regarding greyhound racing.
Greyhound racing in some areas have failed to obtain a foothold due to various reasons, but the one described in this section suffered due to its extreme graphical location. Only a handful of tracks could slot into this category, for example Barrow, Workington and possibly Berwick, but the track at Bideford certainly failed due to its outpost location.
The town of Bideford lies along the coastline of North Devon, its nearest competitor would have been St Austell in Cornwall 48 miles to the south, and Glastonbury 84 miles to the east, meaning that all greyhound entrants would more likely had to be local. Although Greyhound Racing had been experienced before in the town during 1929, with greyhounds and whippets chasing a drag hare along a straight course at the rear of York House, it wasn’t until late 1987 that a more permanent track was set up.
The site chosen had been the Bideford Sports Ground, the home of Bideford Football Club. It was an enclosed venue situated along Kingsley Road, roughly half a mile north of Bideford’s town centre, opposite a busy Morrison’s superstore. It was during 1986 that a group of Greyhound Racing enthusiasts persuaded the committee of the football club to construct a track around the perimeter of the football pitch. After resolving constant issues Bideford staged its inaugural meeting on the 21st of January 1988, with the hounds contesting behind an outside Sumner type hare, on an all grass circuit over race distances of 420 and 700 metres.
Earlier meetings of the new sport had offered hope and optimism, but too many serious incidents around the tracks tight bends had seen the greyhounds’ overshoot and collide with the perimeter fence. These incidents began to create some concern amongst many owners and trainers. Further complaints from the football club’s ground staff suggested that the corner flags section of the pitch was being churned up, due to the hounds encroaching the pitch area. But more of a problem was that the venue struggled to attract entrants, just enough to stage one meeting per week.
The continuous problems became too much for the greyhound company, who decided in August 1988 to stage their final meeting. Today there is no real evidence of Greyhound Racing ever being held at The Sports Ground, and even when mentioned to the football regulars their vivid memory seems to make out that it had been a total flop.
Since those days the stadium has been totally revamped, this due to the demands of the non-league football regulations, yet the oval shape of the sports field still remains, and is possibly the only thing that could twist your mind to think that Greyhound Racing did venture there.