Darlington

Blackwell Meadows

Capacity: 3,000 (Seats 500)
Address: Grange Road, Darlington, DL1 5NR
Telephone: To be advised
Pitch Size: 100m x 70m
Pitch Type: Grass
Club Nickname: Darlo or the Quakers
Year Ground Opened: 1994
Undersoil Heating: No
Home Kit: White and Black

North Side
North Side
The Tin Shed Terrace
The Tin Shed Terrace
South Stand
South Stand
West Open End
West Open End
Drone video footage of Blackwell Meadows.
North Side Seating Area
North Side Seating Area
The Tin Shed
The Tin Shed

The Club since 2012 have played at Heritage Park in Bishop Auckland. Now they have returned to their home town after reaching a groundsharing agreement with Darlington Rugby Club to share their Blackwell Meadows ground. Although opened in 1994, a number of improvements and works have recently been undertaken at Blackwell Meadows to bring the ground up to Football Association standard, so that football matches can be played there.

The ground is overlooked on the North side, by a large pavilion looking building, which is two storeys high and has an old fashioned looking clock above it. This building as well as the one next to it, houses amongst other things the team changing rooms. To one side there is a block of covered seating and the team dugouts are situated in front of this area. On the South side a new small covered seated stand has been erected. Having a capacity of 300 seats, it runs for around a quarter of the length of the pitch and sits astride the half way line. There are flat standing areas to either side of this stand. At the one end of the ground is a sizeable covered terrace, affectionately called the 'Tin Shed' named after a similar structure that was in place at the former Feethams Ground. In fact some of the steel framework for this stand was rescued from the old ground and incorporated into this new structure. Having a capacity of 1,000, the new Tin Shed runs the full length of the pitch. Opposite is the open West Terrace, which when segregation is in force, is given to away fans. The ground is completed with a set of eight modern looking floodlights, four of which run down each side of the stadium.

The Club have received planning permission to extend the seated stand on the South Stand, with 200 additional seats. It is also likely at some point that the Club will seek permission to install a terrace at the West End of the ground.

For most games at Blackwell Meadows, then fans are not segregated. However on the occasions that they are, then visiting supporters are allocated the West End of the ground, where around 600 fans can accommodated. When approaching the stadium, then the visitor turnstiles are located to the right of the main buildings. The West End has no cover and is mostly comprised of flat standing areas, so not the greatest. However as Darlington are well supported, then the atmosphere within the stadium is normally good, with a fair amount of noise being generated from the home end. With such good attendances then the facilities do seem to creak a bit with the large numbers and even when segregation is not in force then the seating areas are off limits to visiting fans, as they are sold out to home season ticket holders.

There is a clubhouse at the ground itself which is normally open to supporters of both clubs (unless segregation is enforced).  It is situated inside the ground and access is limited, so sometimes you need to wait until someone leaves. Usually there is Doom Bar and Theakston’s Lightfoot on handpumps, and the usual draft selection too. There is a lack of other pubs near to Blackwell Meadows. In fact the nearest bars and pubs are located one mile away in Darlington town centre, which is around a twenty minute walk away (There are buses every 15 minutes which stop near the ground). Some of the picks of these are some of those that are listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide, such as the Number Twenty 2 on Coniscliffe Road (on the ground side of the town centre), the Old Vic on Victoria Road (near to the railway station), the Quakerhouse on Mechanics Yard and the Tanners Hall on Skinnergate, the latter being a Wetherspoons outlet.

From the South (A1)
Leave the A1 at Junction 57 and take the A66(M) towards Darlington/Teesside. At the end of the motorway continue onto the A66. At the next roundabout take the second exit onto the A167 towards Darlington. The entrance road to Blackwell Meadows is a quarter of a mile down this road on the right.

Car Parking
There is some parking available at the ground which costs £5 per car. However it tends to fill up fast, so you will need to get there early. If you continue past the stadium entrance towards Darlington, then if you turn right at the next mini roundabout then there is street parking available alongside the park. It is then around a ten minute walk to Blackwell Meadows.

Darlington Railway Station is located one and a half miles away from Blackwell Meadows. Either grab a taxi from the station, or embark on the 30 minute walk to the ground. As you come out of the main railway entrance, you will see Hogans Bar on one corner. Keeping the bar on your left and proceed straight along Victoria Road. Go straight across at the next roundabout continuing along Victoria Road. At the next larger roundabout take the first exit by Sainsburys onto the A167 (Grange Road) towards Northallerton. Follow this road for around one mile. After passing a park on your left you will reach the ground entrance further down on the same side.

Booking train tickets in advance will normally save you money! Find train times, prices and book tickets with Trainline. Visit the website below to see how much you can save on the price of your tickets:

Adults £12
Concession: £8
Under 17's £4
Under 5's Free of charge

Concessions apply to Over 60's, Students, the Disabled and serving members of the Armed Forces. ID may be required to be shown to prove current status.

Official Matchday Programme £2.50.

Spennymoor Town and Hartlepool United.

Record Attendance

At Feethams:
21,023 v Bolton Wanderers
League Cup 3rd Round, November 14th, 1960

At Blackwell Meadows:
3,000 v FC Halifax Town
National League North, December 26th, 2016

Average Attendance
2015-2016: 1,205 (Northern Premier League)

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, then please e-mail me at: duncan@footballgroundguide.com and I'll update the guide.

The Blackwell Meadows videos were produced by Darlington Football Club and made publicly available via YouTube.

Thanks to Simon Brodie and Peter Holdridge for providing the photos of Blackwell Meadows.

Darlington v Harrogate Town
National League North
Saturday 25th February 2017, 3pm
Peter Holdridge (Leicester City and Darlo fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting Blackwell Meadows?

I've seen Darlington play at their three previous grounds and I have often seen them play away so wanted to see the new home ground. There had been a lot of rain in the week before so it was a relief that game was still on.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

It was easy to find the Blackwell Meadows ground. It is not far from the  A1 and then on to A66 and turn on to A167 and you see the ground. (If you are coming from the East you will pass the massive Darlington Arena - former ground - first so don't be confused by this). Plenty of street parking around the park just to the town side of the ground and a short walk from there.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

I took my son to the RSPB Saltholme reserve to compensate him for having to put up wi th the Football. Had lunch there and spent the journey explaining Darlo's recent history (took a long time).

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of Blackwell Meadows? 

It is great to see the club return to its home town. Blackwell Meadows is a smart modern stadium but you can tell it is a Rugby ground and the capacity will need increasing if they do get higher in the League Pyramid. No segregation of fans, the away support congregated at the uncovered west end terrace. Seating for home fans was limited to season ticket holders. Good atmosphere in the home end. North East people are famously friendly but Darlo's experiences over the last 10 years or so have led to a certain cynicism.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

Evenly matched until a dubious sending off of a Darlington player after 20 minutes turned the game. Cracking second half, ended 3-2 to Harrogate. Pleased to see Seabrooks crisps on sale. Excellent stewarding and food as you would expect for non league.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

I didn't realise that if you try to avoid the town and head for A1 you can only go South at the junction where you meet the A1 so I had to take a detour. Best way north is probably through the town along the A147.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Blackwell Meadows is a good place for the away fan to visit with atmosphere but no hostility. Easy to get to and park and choice of where you stand. If you need a seat contact the club in advance to see what they can do. Not sure what Darlington will do if they make it back to Football League though.

Why not write your own review of Blackwell Meadows and have it included in the Guide? Find out more about submitting a Fans Football Ground Review.

Updated 6th April 2017

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