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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 17th September 1861
Final meeting: Tuesday 26th June 1877
The small Devon town of North Tawton, on the River Taw, has been known since Roman times. Close to the current town, on the road which links Okehampton and Exeter, was the Roman fort of Nemetostatio. The town was recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book when it consisted of just 6 farms and a manor. In 1865 North Tawton had its own railway station, but 4 years before this they held their first race meeting on Tuesday 17th September 1861. The 3 mile circuit of the course was at The Barton on good turf, beautifully situated on an eminence, commanding a view of the Dartmoor hills to the right. At the meeting on Tuesday 3rd July 1866 a nasty incident in the Hurdle race saw a collision between Mr Salter and Mr Lee, with the latter falling beneath his horse and receiving serious injuries. A final meeting was staged on Tuesday 26th June 1877 when the opening Flat race over 1 ½ miles was won by Mr Leat’s Shah from Black Bess.  The feature Hurdle race over 2 miles and 4 flights of hurdles went to Mr Shilson’s Village Lass, and after racing an Ordinary was served at the Town Hall. Although this was the final meeting under rules, on Wednesday 20th August 1919 the meeting was resuscitated and continued for a few years, although it no longer operated under rules.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Mr W Salter, Mr W Densham, Mr R D Hole (Stewards)

Principal Races  North Tawton Steeplechase, The Barton Stakes, North Tawton Sweepstake

Tuesday 26th June 1877
North Tawton Hurdle over 2 miles and 4 flights
1. Village Lass, aged mare owned by Mr Shilson
2. Black Bess, aged mare owned by Mr Courtenay
3. Shah, aged horse owned by Mr Leat

The final recorded meeting took place on Tuesday 26th June 1877.

Course today A 3 mile circuit at The Barton.
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.
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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