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Earliest meeting: Friday 25th April 1856
Final meeting: Friday 6th May 1870
The Vale of Wylye is the flood plain of the Rivers Avon and Wylye in Wiltshire. The historic parish of Codford lies within the Vale of Wylye close to Codford Down. The area has a rich history and contains the Bronze Age burial ground of Aston Valley Barrow Cemetery. In the middle of the 19th century races were held in the Vale of Wylye, the first of which took place on Friday 25th April 1856 on Codford Down. The interesting course was in the shape of a figure 9 which enabled races to be plainly seen from every vantage point, with a finishing straight surrounded by a belt of firs. Races were so well supported that they continued to be held on the Downs under the banner of the Vale of Wylye for the next 14 years, with the highlight annually being the Codford Stakes. However, the final meeting under rules, which was billed as the Vale of Wylye Diversions, was staged on Friday 6th May 1870, with the opening Ashton Stakes going to 5/1 Fugleman who beat West Lavington. The management were heavily criticised in the press, particularly for not insisting on jockeys wearing the correct colours. Although this was the final Vale of Wylye meeting, races continued to be held on Codford Down when known as Vale of Wylye Hunt races, while well into the 20th century Wylye Vale Hunt point to point races were still being staged.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Vale of Wylye Hunt Group, Mr C Notley (Secretary)
Principal Races Codford Stakes, Upton Stakes, Stockton Stakes

Friday 6th May 1870
Codford Stakes over 1 ¼ miles
1. Queensland, aged horse owned by Mr J Hussey
2. Optima, 5 year old owned by Mr Stratton
3. Fugleman, aged horse owned by Mr G H Lamb
Betting: Evens Queensland, 2/1 Optima, 5/1 Fugleman

The final meeting took place on Friday 6th May 1870.

Course today A figure of nine course on Codford Down.
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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  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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