There’s no shortage of quality options for greyhound fans in the UK, many of which boast impressively modern stands and facilities. However, for those seeking a more grass-roots experience, there are few venues to beat the County Durham track of Pelaw Grange.
Located around halfway between Gateshead and Chester-Le-Street, this independently owned track has been entertaining the local community for over 80 years and is one of the real hidden gems of the greyhound world. Owned and operated by the McKenna family since 1965, the most appealing feature of Pelaw Grange may be its charming character, but the venue certainly doesn’t come up short in terms of the facilities on offer, with a selection of bars, and an excellent value restaurant available.
What’s On Offer at Pelaw Grange?
The track has previously staged popular Friday and Saturday evening meetings. Whilst these may return in the future, at present Pelaw Grange plays host to just one meeting per week, taking place on a Sunday.
Gates open at 10:30am, with the first of 10 races getting underway at 11:43am, and the hare being set in motion for the last just before 2pm. When in operation, the track’s evening meetings kick off at 7:30pm, with the last race concluding at around 10pm.
- Circuit Length – 345m
- Run to Fist Bend – 90m
- Sprint Distance – 245m
- Middle Distances – 435m (standard)
- Stayers Distance – 590m
- Marathon Distance – 780m – 955m
What Can You Expect?
You can’t go wrong with the entry price for the Sunday afternoon fixtures, with all racegoers gaining free admission to the track and facilities, including a fully stocked bar and restaurant. Evening meetings are priced at £6 for adults and £2.50 for five to 15 year olds, with OAPs and kids under fives going free.
Sunday Carvery Menu
There’s no need to miss out on your Sunday lunch at Pelaw Grange. Simply take advantage of the track’s delicious carvery menu – priced at £10 for adults, and £7 for Children and OAPs. Meals are served in the glass-fronted, panoramic restaurant, complete with tote betting table service, meaning there is no reason to even move from your seat as you enjoy the action. Note that for parties of 10 or more a deposit of £5 per person must be paid in advance.
Special Package Deals
Special package deals are regularly available for the track’s evening meetings and big bank holiday fixtures. One of the most popular of which is the Six Pack deal. Priced at just £6, this offer includes admission, a race card, two drinks, a jackpot bet, and free entry to a subsequent fixture.
Affordable Sponsorship Deals
The track also offers one of the most affordable race sponsorship deals in British racing. An ideal way to add a little extra to a special occasion, with packages beginning at just £25.
How to Get There
The track address is Pelaw Grange Greyhound Stadium, Drum Road, Chester-Le-Street, DH3 2AF. For those driving to the track, the stadium lies just off the A693 only a short distance from the A1(M) motorway. Upon arrival at the track, racegoers will find ample free parking available in the stadium’s 200-capacity car park.
Chester-le-Street train station sits in the heart of the town centre, around a 30-minute walk from the track. Lying on the London to Edinburgh line, the station is easily reached from most areas of the country. For those who don’t fancy the stroll from the town centre, the number 21, 25 and 82 local bus services all stop close to the stadium.
How to Get in Touch
- Tel: – 0191 410 2141
- Email: – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter: – @PelawGrangeDogs
What Else Do I Need to Know?
Located to the north of Chester-Le-Street at North Lodge, the track was built in 1944 by George Towers. Taking its name from the nearby country house and farm, the stadium lies just off the rail line, with the back straight running parallel to the train track. Initially an unlicensed or “flapping” track, Pelaw Grange nevertheless proved immediately popular with the thriving local mining community.
The McKenna Family
Possibly the most significant moment in the history of the track came in January 1965, when the site was first taken over by the McKenna family. Jeff and Joyce McKenna were the first of the clan to own Pelaw Grange, with their son Jeff serving as the promoter, general manager and racing manager.
Steadily increasing in popularity over the subsequent decades, the 1980s saw the McKennas pump significant investment into the site. Converting to an all-sand surface for the first time, off-track upgrades included a computerised tote, three bars, two glass-fronted stands and a new car park. The subsequent additions of the Newcastle Rose Bowl and Whitfield Oaks then provided a boost to the racing schedule.
Boasting the facilities to match many officially recognised tracks, 2005 saw Jeff and Theresa McKenna decide to enter the licensed ranks. Immediately approved by the National Greyhound Club, the track held its first officially licensed meeting on the 25th of August 2005.
Arena Racing Company
In 2015, the track celebrated 50 years of McKenna ownership with its first-ever live Sky TV meeting. Further support for the venue came in 2018 when Pelaw Grange signed a deal with the Arena Racing Company to stage a regular programme of Sunday afternoon fixtures.
One of the more stable and consistent tracks in the land, the recent ARC deal helped further secure the future of this charming track. Greyhound fans making a trip to the northeast would be well advised to pop into this corner of County Durham on a Sunday afternoon.