Situated in East Sussex, in the South Downs, Plumpton is one of the best of the smaller jumps racecourses in the country and it plays host to sixteen National Hunt meetings between September and May each year. The track is one mile and one furlong long and is left-handed, undulating and sharp.
In approximately 1870, Ashurst Farm in Plumpton was bought by Mr W. F. Wheatley and some six years later in late December 1876, the first enclosed hare coursing meeting was held there.
In May 1882, the Plumpton Coursing Company Ltd was formed but was later dissolved in November 1889. By then, the first horse racing meeting had taken place in 1884 and hare coursing had stopped. Coursing would not be re-commenced until 1902 and it stopped finally in 1908.
In 1892, a new steeplechase course was introduced, extending the circuit behind the stands. Ten years later, more changes were seen in the form of a new two mile hurdle chute start in the middle of the course. By now Plumpton Racecourse Ltd had been established, with Pratt and Co taking on the management of the race course.
A year earlier, in 1901, the first of the Annual Southdown Hunt Races was held at Plumpton and these would continue until 1914. In common with the other race courses in the country, Plumpton stopped racing for much of the First World War, with the final race being held in April 1915, and not resuming until December 1919.
In April 1932, the first of the Southdown Hunt Bona Fide Hunt meetings was held, a fixture which would continue until 1939. With the outbreak of the Second World War, however, racing was suspended once again, with the final meeting being held in March 1941 and resuming in February 1946. In 1961, the race course was bought by Isidore Kerman and under his ownership, many improvements were made to the course, including various new stands, the installation of a water system, new stables and weighing room.
Changes were also made to the course itself, including, in 1984, a realignment, with the water jump and open ditch being relocated and the chase course moved to the outside in the home straight.
In 1996, responsibility for the management was handed over to Lingfield Park and in March 1998, the course was sold to Mr Peter Savill and Captain Adrian Pratt. Since then the water jump has been used for the final time and the steeplechase and hurdles racecourses realigned. The steeplechases are now on the outside and the hurdles on the inside. In 1999 an all weather parade walk was opened in front of the stands.
Meetings and Tickets
For details of all fixtures see the website.
Tickets are priced between £10 and £18 although if you buy your tickets at least a week in advance you will get a discount of between £1.50 and £2.
£18 (£16 in advance)
£14 (£12.50 in advance)
£10 (£8.50 in advance)
Seniors are admitted to the Course Enclosure for £5 apart from during the Easter Festival, whilst under 16s are admitted free of charge provided they are accompanied by an adult.
Car parking is free of charge.
A Turf Tour which costs £30, payable in advance, will give you access to the Premier Enclosure, a programme, a £5 Tote betting voucher, a welcome drink and afternoon tea plus a guided tour of the course.
Annual membership is available at £340 (double) and £180 (single) or, if purchased before December 1st, £310 and £165.
Eating and Drinking
There are various bars, all serving light snacks and food outlets. If you fancy something a little special the Directors’ Box with its private roof terrace may be just the thing. Prices start at £85 exclusive of VAT per head. Alternatively the Paddock Restaurant offers a three course silver service lunch plus complimentary drink for £35.
Whilst no dress course is enforced at Plumpton, guests in the Premier Enclosure are asked to adhere to a minimum of a smart casual code.
Plumpton, East Sussex, BN7 3AL
Exit at Junction 7 and take the M23 towards Crawley/Gatwick. This becomes the A23 (signposted Brighton). Take the A273 towards Hassocks and then the B2112 towards Ditchling. At the Ditchling roundabout turn right on to the B2116 and turn right at the Half Moon Pub. Follow the signs for the racecourse.
Plumpton station is adjacent to the racecourse and is served by frequent trains on the London Victoria to Hastings line.
A free coach service runs from Brighton station with the first coach leaving one and a half hours before the races begin and the last one leaving the racecourse (rear car park) half an hour after the last race ends.
Helicopters can land at the racecourse with prior permission and Shoreham Airport, suitable for light aircraft, is only ten miles away.