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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 25th July 1849
Final meeting: Tuesday 21st May 1872
The Devon town of Barnstaple once boasted racecourses at two separate venues, staging racing for 23 years in total. Initially meetings were held at Pitt Marsh, starting on Wednesday 25th July 1849, and then moved to Youlstone Park. At the inaugural meeting, attended by Sir Arthur Chichester, the card opened with the Tradesmen’s Plate which was won by Mr Davis’s Deceiver beating Cygnet and Piccaroon. The principal race, the Youlstone Stakes, went to Sir Arthur Chichester’s Haphazard after first passed the post Jenny Lind was disqualified for taking the wrong course, and the day concluded with the Yeomanry Cup which went to Mr Goss’s Fanny. After the races had ended the prizes and a splendid dinner were well received at the Golden Lion Hotel. Racing continued at Pitt Marsh until 1867, after which meetings transferred to Youlstone Park, with its first card being held in 1868. The final meeting at the track took place on Tuesday 21st May 1872 when the Hall Stakes went to Mr W Rawcliffe’s Thornettle, while the Members’ Handicap over 1 ½ miles saw Mr G Jarvis’s Shifnal get the better of Instructress and Endowment.  Meetings were revived in the early 20th century but invariably included pony races.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Sir Arthur Chichester, Newton Fellowes
Principal Races Youlstone Stakes, Yeomanry Cup, Hall Stakes

Wednesday 25th July 1849
Youlstone Stakes
1. Haphazard, bay horse owned by Sir Arthur Chichester
2. Cygnet, chestnut mare owned by Mr Graddon
Disq. Jenny Lind, chestnut mare owned by Mr Wood

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 21st May 1872.

I am grateful to Darren Bannaghan for the rare scan shown below. It was presented to the owner of St Gorman which was ridden by W. Brooks in 1886. The mystery is that the last race meeting at Barnstaple was recorded as 1872. Has anyone any records of the racecourse holding meetings as late as 1886? If so then email

Course today Initially at Pitt Marsh and later at Youlstone Park.
If you have photos, postcards, racecards. badges, newspaper cuttings or book references about the old course, or can provide a photo of how the ground on which the old racecourse stood looks today, then email

Much of the information about this course has been found using internet research and is in the public domain. However, useful research sources have been:-

London Illustrated News

Racing Illustrated 1895-1899

The Sporting & Dramatic Illustrated

Northern Turf History Volumes 1-4 by J.Fairfax-Blakeborough

The Sporting Magazine

A Long Time Gone by Chris Pitt first published in 1996 ISBN 0 900599 89 8

Racing Calendars which were first published in 1727

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing stating your requirements, method of payment (cheque payable to W.Slusar) or Bank transfer, and the address where the book(s) should be sent.
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Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
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