Stadium development

The development of the Valley Greyhound Stadium is progressing at pace in preparation for professional racing licensed by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB).

The new hare rail was welded from sections

Stadium owner Dave Barclay visited the site to witness the arrival of a new outside hare system, which was delivered in mid-August 2022. The current hare is a Sumner system that operates on the inside of the track via a rather complex (and noisy) array of pulleys and rollers driven by a large aluminium wheel housed near the finishing line. This will be replaced by a completely different Swaffam McGee mechanism that will run on a rail sunk at ground level around the outside of the circuit with much of the drive mechanism concealed underground. The rail arrived in sections that were carefully welded together and set into more than 400 metres of specially constructed concrete footings to ensure that the internal cable runs smoothly without snagging.

New hare rail

The hare rail runs in front of the current starting traps so new boxes have arrived that can be lifted on and off the track by powerful hoists. They are now being installed further up the home and back straights. A new inside safety rail, made by specialist manufacturer Barriers International, is also close to being completed.

Dave and Lee Barclay

The installation of the track infrastructure is being managed by Dave Barclay’s son, Lee, who oversees track management at the Barclays’ Harlow Stadium in Essex. The new starting positions will shorten the run-ups but the finishing line will be moved nearer to the first bend, so the racing distances will not be significantly shorter than at present. The main standard, four-bend distance is expected to be 460 metres (currently 475 metres). The two-bend sprint distance is planned to be 280 metres (currently 286 metres) with the six-bend stayers course at 640 metres (currently 665 metres).

Facilities will be extended all the way down the home straight


The construction of a new building to accommodate a professional on-site veterinary surgery plus a new judges’ box has been completed and is now being fitted out, but this was just the first of a succession of new buildings that are now springing up on the site. There are plans to erect a new two-tier building on the currently-vacant platform above the starting traps on the home straight. The lower tier would accommodate an additional bar area with a separate function room above.

Temporary judges’ box

At the other end of the existing spectators’ lounge, the area currently occupied by the track bookmakers has already been extended into the former paddock. The current stewards’ building has been gutted and completely rewired and a new, temporary judges’ box has been erected over the finishing line. The now vacant space below will be extended further up the home straight to create a spacious catering area.
The purpose-built, glass-fronted camera platform

Whereas many existing greyhound stadia have had to install camera facilities as something of an after-thought, The Valley’s judges’ box features a purpose-built, glass-fronted camera platform right on the new finishing line and the stadium’s floodlights will be upgraded to improve broadcast picture quality. Work is well underway on the largest new trackside structure, the racing kennels, which stretches from the first bend all the way to the existing trainers’ toilet facilities. The building has been completed and, inside, the kennel blocks are close to completion.

New racing kennels

Construction of a new building to house the stadium’s tractors and other equipment is well under way on the crown of the first bend.

It is expected that the extensions will eventually enable the stadium to accommodate between 400 and 500 spectators in comfort indoors with additional standing room still available around the perimeter wall. All of the new buildings are being cladded and trimmed to match the spectators’ lounge to give the development a clean and uniform eternal appearance.


Kennels will replace the Tredomen FC social club

Additional development is planned on the other side of the spectators’ car park. The dilapidated former Tredomen FC social club was bought by Malcolm Tams in 2021. It is planned for this to be refurbished and repurposed as extensive kennel complexes for up to two attached trainers who will be employed to augment the supply of runners for the track’s graded races.

Malcolm Tams, who owned the Valley Greyhound Stadium for more than a decade, has been retained as a consultant to organise and manage the stadium development. He has ensured that much of the work is being carried out by local people who are also very familiar figures at the Valley Greyhound Stadium. Father and son team Charlie and Christian Darch – who own some of the Valley’s top greyhounds – are in charge of much of the construction work and they even roped in the temporary assistance of another Valley regular, Charelle Jones. Malcolm’s brother-in-law and business partner, Steve Miles – who helps out at the gate on race nights – is putting his decades of experience as an electrical contractor to good use by wiring all the new buildings. 


Malcolm Tams and Dave Barclay intend to keep independent ‘flapping’ going until the Valley Greyhound Stadium is licensed by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain.

After buying the Valley Greyhound Stadium, Dave Barclay immediately leased the stadium back to former-owner Malcolm Tams so that it could continue to operate as an independent ‘flapping’ track until a Greyhound Board of Great Britain licence is applied for. A number of owners have invested in new greyhounds and, together with a steady flow of locally-bred pups that have recently begun their racing careers, they have ensured that the racing strength has retained its depth. Despite the extensive construction work to upgrade the stadium’s facilities, it is confidently believed that independent greyhound racing will be able to continue right up to the time when The Valley applies for a GBGB licence. When the switch to professional racing arrives, the Valley Greyhound Stadium will work with existing owners to help them to register their greyhounds with suitable GBGB-licensed trainers.