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Earliest meeting: Thursday 21st June 1883
Final meeting: Saturday 27th August 1960
The earliest evidence of racing in the Devon town of Buckfastleigh was on Wallaford Down in the mid-1800s, but the course was a challenge to reach, deterring trainers from sending their horses and punters from attending. A new course at Dean Court Farm opened on Thursday 21st June 1883 on land leased to Mr Coulton by Lord Churston. The course, a tight circuit of little more than a mile with less than a two furlong run-in, was much more accessible than the previous course, being within 2 miles of Buckfastleigh Railway station. Within three years it had become a tradition for the meeting to be held on Whit Monday, and this continued to be so for 35 years until a second day was added after the end of the War. Meetings continued between 1921 and 1939, but the final meeting before the outbreak of the second World War was on Saturday 26th August 1939. After the War had ended meetings resumed, supported by the usual loyal crowd, and on Whit Monday 6th June 1949 the course celebrated a royal visitor when Princess Margaret was in attendance, along with 25000 others. The first three favourites, Paracutin, Piccaninny and Le Belle Anita, all won that day, so she must surely have backed a winner. Although a grandstand was built in 1950, within ten years racing under rules had ended. The estate owner, Lord Churston, decided to put his estate on the market, causing the final meeting to be staged on Saturday 27th August 1960. Although the new owners were prepared to lease their land for point to point meetings, the final curtain was brought down on these on Saturday 19th March 1977.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Mildmay, Lord Churston, Mr Coulton
Principal Races Buckfastleigh Open Handicap Steeplechase, Dartmoor Steeplechase Plate 

Monday 20th May 1907
Buckfastleigh Open Handicap Steeplechase over 2 ½ miles
1. Discovery, aged horse owned by Mr J C Allen-Jeffery’s
2. Prince Tuscan, aged horse owned by Mr Colwyn
3. Blue Crescent, aged horse owned by Mr J S Reed
Betting: 5/4 Discovery, 2/1 Prince Tuscan, 3/1 Blue Crescent

I am grateful to John Hodges for recommending the following link:-
The final meeting took place on Saturday 27th August 1960.
Course today Very popular Point to Point meetings continue to this day in the town.
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 johnwslusar@gmail.com

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 johnwslusar@gmail.com stating your requirements, method of payment (cheque payable to W.Slusar) or Bank transfer, and the address where the book(s) should be sent.
Download an order form
  Quantity Cost
Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 3 Wales & Scotland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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