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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 24th September 1867
Final meeting: Wednesday 7th September 1870
The small West Dorset town of Beaminster is located 15 miles from the county town of Dorchester. It is situated on the River Brit and was a centre for the manufacture of linen and woollens. In the latter part of the 19th century it had its own racecourse on Beaminster Downs, by kind permission of the lord of the manor, which was also known as the West Dorset racecourse, and began hosting races on Tuesday 24th September 1867 with a six race card. The course had a deep valley on the opposite side to the grandstand and welcomed a crowd of over 4000 to the first meeting. Although flat and hurdle racing was on the card in 1867, National Hunt steeplechases first started in 1868. The meetings lasted for 3 years before a final card was held on Wednesday 7th September 1870.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Sir F Johnstone
Principal Races Beaminster Stakes, West Dorset Open Hurdle, Bridport Selling Stakes

Tuesday 24th September 1867
Beaminster Stakes over 1 mile
1. Camellia, 6 year old owned by Sir F Johnstone
2. Allow Me, aged horse owned by Mr W Carlisle
3. Aeolus, 4 year old owned by Mr T Barrett

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 7th September 1870.

Course today On Beaminster Downs for the early 4 year period of racing, but point to point races were later staged at Pipsford Farm from 1904.
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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Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
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