This article is about the English town. For other places named Newmarket or New Market, see New Market.

Template:GBmap Newmarket is a market town in the English county of Suffolk, approximately 65 miles north of London, which has grown and become famous because of its connection with race horses and racing.

Racing at Newmarket has been dated as far back as 1174, making it the earliest known racing venue of post-classical times. King James I (reigned 1603 - 1625) greatly increased the popularity of horse racing there, and King Charles I followed this by inaugurating the first cup race in 1634. In 1967 Queen Elizabeth II opened the National Stud, a breeding centre for Thoroughbred horses. The town is also home to Tattersalls, the famous bloodstock auctioneers whose sales are attended by big names in the racing business. The town also has a Horse Racing Museum and an Equine Centre for horse health.

The town has special horse routes so the horses can reach the gallops safely and many training establishments occupied by top trainers. More than two thousand race horses inhabit Newmarket. By comparison, the human population is of the order of 15,000 and it is estimated that one in four jobs are connected to horseracing in one way or another. 'The gallops' is a hill overlooking the town and used as a training run to improve the horses' workload when training. This and the surrounding heath is chalk downland and has special birds and animals only suited to this terrain. It is also a very historical area with the remains of 6th century living to be found.

The town has two race courses situated on Newmarket Heath, these are the Rowley Mile and the July Course. The two courses are separated by the Devil's Dyke. This large earthwork starts in neighbouring Woodditton (sometimes spelt as Wood Ditton) and ends in Reach. This is a distance of over 8 miles and when you realise that this was dug out using antler horns and the like and that from peak to trough it is over 30 feet the sheer scale of effort involed is incredible. There are many theories why it exists but no categorical answer.

The area of Suffolk containing Newmarket is nearly detached, with only a narrow strip of territory linking it to the rest of the county. Traditionally the town was split with one parish in Suffolk and another in Cambridgeshire.


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