Select Page

The Turnpike, Bunwell, Norwich NR16 1SW

The small Norfolk village of Bunwell is located fifteen miles southwest of Norwich. It is in this village that another pre-war Greyhound Racing venue flourished then disappeared in a short matter of time.

The track had developed on some recreational land next door to the village hall, and lay opposite the Queens Head Public House, an ideal location positioned in the centre of the village. Pony Racing and Coursing had already featured, with both sports having been arranged by the Queens Head landlord, who’s purpose was to attract extra custom to his business. But it would be the landlord’s son who would influence his father to promote Greyhound Racing, as he was already an owner of a greyhound that regularly raced at Norwich’s Boundary Park Stadium.

It was during the early months of 1935 that efforts were made to introduce the sport, firstly by contacting various kennels to supply the required number of greyhounds needed to support meetings. Once all enquires had been achieved, a track was laid out across the grounds by erecting posts linked with netting to create an oval shaped circuit. Some of the posts contained a pulley wheel attached at its base, which in turn would be the guide for a cable to be pulled around by a Bull Nosed Morris Car Engine propped up on railway sleepers.

A rugby ball covered by a rabbit skin was used as a lure, and after every race the cable would be reinstalled back around the pulleys by hand, ready for the next contest. A small stand was erected along the start and finish straight, mainly to act as a shelter for the handful of bookmakers who would stand.

It is still not clear, but it is more than likely that there was no permanent track side lighting, although three meetings per week was arranged during summer nights, and so successful was it, that two meetings also took place during winter.

Another important bit of information missing in Bunwell’s history, is the date of its first meeting, but it is known that the venue gained a reputation of being suspect, due to all the dodgy goings on that had happened during races. But sadly, Bunwell became another victim to the restrictions laid down by the Declaration of The Second World War, and failed to reopen, even after regulations had been relaxed. One of its contributing factors why it failed to return, was the scarcity of fuel required to run the track, and also patrons who travelled from afar, found it difficult to attend also. But possibly more of a contribution towards its failure was its location, being situated close to an Airfield, which in itself brought with it further restrictions.

After hostilities had ceased, the grounds returned to its old status of being recreational area, and that is how it has remained throughout the following years. Today, the site of this venue remains as recreational land, and is situated next to the A1113 Turnpike Road in Bunwell.