Activities over the Years
Some traditional and on-going and others transient and lost in time


Angling (soon)
       

Card courtesy of Pat Bevan ( nee Prosser )

Poster courtesy of Ian Birch of the Castlefields Inn

The Glasbury Racecourse

During its time at Ffordd Fawr Farm the Glasbury Racecourse was a very popular Flat-Racing event and drew large crowds numbering in the thousands at its peak. The Course was set round the 37 acre field in Gro 2, and was a railed elliptical shape of seven furlongs. There were two starting gates to cater for races of 6 furlongs to one and a half miles.
Several bookies attended from the bigger courses, including Jimmy Thomas of Merthyr and there were two rows of betting booths with up to 30 bookies at peak times.
Above the racecourse was a railed parade ring, a weighing-in and changing area for the jockeys, an office and public toilets, all constructed of tin sheds.
'Ossie' Lewis ran a drinks and snacks bar at the side of the Parade ring ( he also ran the Conservative Club in Hay-on-Wye ).

Bob Little and his brother Bill took the money, which was substantial, on the entrance gate. They were aged 14 and 12 respectively. They also collected the rubbish after the meet along with a fair amount of loose coin around the betting area. This supplemented their meagre wages at the time.

Peter Leighton remembers leading horses round the Parade when he was 14 years old in 19 and Brigid Edlin ( nee Cooper ) recalls some of the jockeys discussing race-fixing as she lay hidden in the hedge.

The races were ran with monetary prizes and Mike Like remembers sponsoring several races of up to £50.00. He also recalls that Mary Morson was one of the local jockeys.

Between races the Prices of Llynpenderi 'took off' the grass and removed their sheep prior to the race-day.

The course was created in the late 1940's by Mr Price of 'Vale of Neath Breweries' when Wilfred J P Prosser ( "Pip" Prosser ) owned the farm and it was still operating when Richard Eckleys father bought the farm in 1965. 'Pips' Housekeeper at this time was an ex land girl called Miss Watkins.
The last South Wales Promoted race occurred in 1967 and although there were occasional events after this Richard Eckley thought that all the racing had finished by the late 1960's.

Parking was expensive at £1.00 a day per car (regardless of occupants), but still a large amount in the 1950's, and several people parked over the bridge at John Thomas' garage. Many race-goers arrived by coach and the coaches parked in the field above the Paddock. Many others arrived by train, particularly from the S. Wales valleys

The Races ( sometimes called 'Flapping' - possibly due to the waving of their arms and elbows by the jockeys ) were at their height during the 1950's and gradually declined as times improved and travel to the bigger circuits and other attractions became accessible.

It is also probable that the closure of the Railways in 1962 would have effected some of the punters and spectators travelling from Merthyr and deeper in South Wales valleys on what would have been a grand day out in Mid Wales.

From the Brecon and Radnor Express and County Times 1953

B Bowker
02.12.2013

Acknowledgements

Derek Eckley, Brigid Edlin, Christine Forbes, Paul Greenow, Brian Grummett, Nigel Keylock, Dave Kings, Peter Leighton, Mike Like, Bob Little, Colin Price, 'Maxie' Sharpe and John Thomas