Newton Abbot Greyhound Track, The Recreation Ground, Marsh Road, Newton Abbot, Devon.
LOCATED————————————About half a mile north east of Newton Abbot town centre.
ORIGINAL SITE—————————–Farm grazing land.
DATE CONSTRUCTED——————–Developed as a recreational ground including a cycle track around the turn of the twentieth century.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————-Around 1900.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–August 7th 1929.
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——Trackless type lure system.
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 and 450 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——————Various sports.
LAST MEETING——————————-July 17th 1936.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-Still used for football and cricket.
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
STADIUM DEMOLITION——————-Still there.
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.
Another of the Devon towns to have hosted Greyhound Racing at more than one venue is the one at Newton Abbott. Newton Abbott is more famously known for its Horse Racing Circuit on the outskirts of the town, which in more recent times had itself accommodated Greyhound Racing.
The greyhound track described in this section dates back to the boom time of the sport, which lasted for a number of years before fading away well before the declaration of the Second World War. It was known as the Recreation Ground, its location being hemmed in by a gas works and the River Lemon, situated within half a mile of Newton Abbott’s town centre.
First signs of sporting activities took place around the turn of the 20th century, when a cycle track was laid around an open meadow. Further sports began to appear, and by the end of the First World War the site had established itself more as an athletics ground rather than anything else. Although Whippet Racing featured during the 1920’s, it wasn’t until the summer of 1929 that a more permanent greyhound track was laid in a northeast, southwest direction, with a small pavilion used as its main grandstand and offices.
The Rec’s inaugural meeting came on the 7th of August 1929, which consisted of seven six dog races, contested over distances of 250 and 450 yards, with a trackless type of hare system used as the lure. Unfortunately, the meeting was littered with unwelcomed incidents, with the first race becoming void due to an escaped greyhound joining the race, which sadly got caught up the hare mechanism and had to be destroyed because of its injuries. A further three more races were declared void, mainly due to the leading greyhounds catching the lure due to the pulley mechanism having been damaged by the earlier incident, and to avoid any further embarrassment the meeting was abandoned after seven races.
Once the teething problems of the hare system had been overcome, Newton Abbot began to stage four meetings per week throughout the summer months, but like many the sport became suspended during the Winter period. Greyhound Racing continued to feature for the next seven years, its demise coming due to the greyhound company failing to agree terms with the council, regarding an extension of the lease.
The meeting that took place on the 17th of July 1936, happened to be the last one to be staged at the Recreation Ground. Once the greyhounds had gone, The Rec witnessed the return of amateur football, and by 1938 Newton Abbot Spurs had become its tenants, and that is how it has been ever since. Fortunately, this venue has not yet fallen into the hands of the developers, as presently the venue remains a sporting venue for football and cricket. As for any evidence regarding that it once hosted Greyhound Racing remains blank, as the Recreation Ground is a totally different place from what it was 80 years ago.