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Earliest meeting: Monday 18th September 1865
Final meeting: Wednesday 2nd September 1874
The West Yorkshire spa town of Ilkley, on the south side of the River Wharfe, is located 12 miles north of Bradford and 17 miles north west of Leeds. It is in the Yorkshire Dales area of Wharfedale, which held races at a variety of venues from 1845 to 1874. Racing was certainly taking place in Ilkley in 1865 when the meeting coincided with the Wakes week. However, the races on Monday 18th September 1865 were mixed in their nature, including pony races, and it was not until Ilkley joined forces with Wharfdale that the results were widely reported. That first Ilkley-Wharfedale meeting took place in September 1870 under the direction of Mr Willaim Brumfitt. The next year on Tuesday 19th September 1871 the card opened with the Middleton Handicap which went to Mr Adams’s The Bee, while the Hack Stakes was won by Mr Wall’s Lady Firth. The final meeting was staged on Wednesday 2nd September 1874, although racing did take place in Wharfedale after this date, notably at Hadfield Farm on Monday 14th August 1882, although by then it was a point to point meeting.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr William Brumfitt, Mr George Rhodes
Principal Races Ilkley Innkeepers Stakes, Middleton Handicap, Wharfedale Handicap

Tuesday 11th September 1871
Wharfedale Handicap
1. Barbara, aged mare owned by Mr Adams
2. Little Hutton, aged horse owned by Mr Kendall
3. Spots, aged horse owned by Mr Waddington

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 2nd September 1874.
Course today At Hadfield farm owned by Mr T C Cunliffe.
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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