The Gloucester and Cheltenham Greyhound Racecourse, Longlevens Road, Longlevens, Gloucester, Gloucestershire.
LOCATED————————————The district of Longlevens lies three miles north east of Gloucester and seven miles west of Cheltenham. The venue itself lay about a quarter of a mile west of the junction between the A40 and the B4063 roundabout, north of the junction between the Cheltenham Road and Greyhound Gardens Road with housing and The Greyhound Public House now covering the site.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–Farm grazing land.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-July 1933.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–July 22nd 1933.
Greyhound Racing only.
LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT———-NGRC.
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, after its closure it was transferred to the Park Road venue in Barrow during 1986.
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———————————–462, 647 and 860 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.
CIRCUMFERENCE—————————Roughly 400 metres.
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—————————The Grand National of the West.
STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Nothing known of.
LAST MEETING——————————-October 22nd 1983.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-October 1983
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
BUILT ON SITE——————————-The Greyhound Inn and its car park along with some housing on Penny Close and Dovedale 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——————-Nothing known of.
Although applications to the Gloucester City Council for the construction of a new greyhound stadium at Elmbridge had been refused in January 1933, a site further away from the city was given the go ahead soon after. The new venue was situated in a location that would hopefully attract business from two nearby large towns, firstly Gloucester, found three miles in a south westerly direction, and Cheltenham situated just seven miles to the east.
Construction of the new stadium began in early 1933 on grazing land east of the meandering Horsbere Brook, in the Longlevens district of Gloucester. When completed The Gloucester and Cheltenham Greyhound Stadium was described to be one of the best purpose built and most picturesque tracks in the country. The stadium’s main feature was no doubt the very impressive all seater grandstand but could also boast it had the most modern track lighting, a fully equipped totalisator system, and had its kennels built within the stadiums boundaries to accommodate as many as 120 greyhounds.
The opening meeting came on a Saturday Evening of the 22nd of July 1933, which featured a seven-race event consisting of five dogs racing over distances of 500 and 650 yards. Races were to be run under NGRC rules, with a 6-4 favourite named Valiant Rufus winning the first ever race. The arrival of The Second World War in September 1939 caused little disruption to racing, although the track did close temporarily in the early days, but after restrictions were lifted, Greyhound Racing was allowed to continue, albeit during daylight hours.
Longlevens big race attraction had been a 500 yard’s hurdle race, known as The Grand National Of The West, an event competed for every year since the tracks beginning, until it was held for its final time in 1965. The installation of under soil heating below the tracks surface in its later years proved a success, a system fitted to combat frost, after the stadium had lost so many meetings throughout the winter months. Six dog racing continued over the metric distances of 462, 647 and 860 metres, with the hounds chasing an inside Sumner type hare.
By the early 1980’s attendances at Longlevens had dwindled considerably, and the running costs of the venue was proving too much, and with a generous offer from developers on the table to purchase the site, the venue was sold. It was during the year of the tracks 50th anniversary that racegoers of Longlevens Stadium were informed of its forthcoming closure, news which created anger and sadness amongst them on how quick the stadium had come to an end. It was announced that the Saturday Evening of the 22nd of October 1983 would become Longlevens final meeting.
The venue was demolished the following year, and notes written in The Greyhound Owner newspaper suggested that the inside Sumner hare system was purchased by enthusiasts who constructed the Park Road venue in Barrow during 1986. Today, no evidence remains of the Longlevens Greyhound Stadium, yet The Horsbere Brook continues to meander on and is there to assist as a landmark to where the stadium once lay. The track’s location lies about a quarter of a mile west of a busy roundabout were the A40 and the B4063 intergreat.
The actual site is now covered partially by the appropriately named Greyhound Inn and its car park, which was constructed in 1985. The Greyhound Inn is accessible by a road feeding the new housing estate, known not surprisingly as Greyhound Gardens. The pub and its car park now cover the northeast section of the track, which ran from a north easterly direction towards the southwest, with the southwest side of the track covered by new housing found on Penny Close and Dovedale Drive. Finally, if the tracks grandstand should ever return to its old spot, it would probably find itself directly outside the pubs front doors facing northwest, then spread itself across the road and seat itself right in the middle of the back gardens of some of the new houses.