Where, and what is the Carholme?

The Carholme, or West Common, is a large area of common land to the west of the city centre of Lincoln, the county town of Lincolnshire, in the East Midlands of England. Nowadays, West Common, which is designated as an area of critical asset and nature conservation importance, constitutes 100 hectares or so of the Witham Valley Country Park. However, from a horse racing perspective, the Carholme was the site of Lincoln Racecourse which, between 1853 and 1964, played host to the race that would become the Lincoln Handicap.

Lincoln Racecourse moved to the Carholme in the late eighteenth century and was improved, including the addition of the first grandstand, at the cost of £7,000 to Lincoln Corporation, in 1826. In 1897, a new grandstand – parts of which, albeit disused, still stand – was built in brick, stone and cast iron to replace the earlier structure. Lincoln Racecourse served as an airfield during World War I, but the popularity of racing at the course suffered a steady decline throughout the twentieth century. Finally, in 1964, the Horse Race Betting Levy Board announced that it was withdrawing its subsidy for Lincoln Racecourse, thereby forcing its closure.

Where, and what, is the ‘Trundle’?

Also known as Saint Roche’s Hill, the ‘Trundle’ is a vantage point high on the South Downs, at an elevation of 675 feet, approximately three miles north of the cathedral city of Chichester, West Sussex in South East England. Strictly speaking, the ‘Trundle’ refers to an Iron Age hill fort on Saint Roche’s Hill, the ditches and embankments marking the perimeter of which are still clearly visible, but nowadays the names are often used interchangeably. The name ‘Trundle’ is derived from the Old English word ‘tryndel’, or its variant ‘trendel’, meaning ‘circle’ or ‘ring’.

The top of the Trundle offers panoramic views across the coastal plain, and the English Channel beyond, to the south and the Weald to the north. In particular, from a horse racing perspective, the northeastern slope of the Trundle offers a clear view of Goodwood Racecourse, making it a popular, inexpensive, albeit slightly remote, viewing platform when racing is in progress. In 1933, the Duke of Richmond fenced in most of the Trundle and built an admission gate to create the ‘Trundle Enclosure’, with an admission fee of 3/- per person. The Trundle may not be as popular a vantage point as it once was, but is easily accessible by car, with a car park near the top, and nowadays offers free grandstand views of the racecourse.

Where, and what, is Warren Hill?

Not to be confused with Her Majesty’s Prison Warren Hill, near the village of Hollesley, Suffolk, or the recreational green space of the same name within the South Downs National Park, Warren Hill is, of course, one of the most famous and popular public gallops in the historic headquarters of horse racing, Newmarket.

Newmarket is home to approximately 3,000 racehorses, or roughly one for every six of the 18,000 human inhabitants, so it should come as no surprise that Warren Hill is utilised six hours a day, six days a week and caters for approximately 16,000 horses per month. Unsurprisingly, the training grounds are closed to pedestrians until early afternoon each day, with the bulk of the activity taking place between early morning and noon. For spectators, parking is available at the top of Warren Hill – the highest point in the area, overlooking the racecourses and town – and the Warren Hill canters, which rise over 130 feet or so in the last quarter of a mile, attract a constant stream of valuable horses from leading stables.

Which was the last British racecourse to close permanently?

Notwithstanding the continued uncertainty surrounding Towcester Racecourse, following the appointment of administrators in August, 2018, and the subsequent sale of its assets to Fermor Land LLP, a company connected to Chairman, Lord Hesketh, the last British racecourse to close permanently was Folkestone. Formerly billed as ‘The Racecourse of Kent’, Folkestone Racecourse is situated in the village of Westenhanger, approximately eight miles west of Folkestone town centre, in the south-east of the county.

The racecourse was closed ‘temporarily’ by owners Arena Racing Company (ARC) in December, 2012, because it was ‘not a viable business’. However, the current landowner, Cozumel Estates, is working with Folkestone & Hythe District Council on a proposal to build a new garden town, Otterpool Park, with 10,000 homes, on Folkestone Racecourse, so the closure is almost certainly permanent, in all but name.

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