Crabble Athletic Ground
Capacity: 5,745 (Seats 1,500)
Address: Lewisham Rd, River, Dover, CT17 0JB
Telephone: 01304 822373
Fax: 01304 821383
Pitch Size: 113 x 73 yards
Pitch Type: Grass
Club Nickname: The Whites
Year Ground Opened: 1931
Undersoil Heating: No
Home Kit: White and Black
Well, the Crabble Athletic Ground is certainly a memorable one, mostly for its picturesque location. The Crabble ground is set into a hillside on one side of a river valley. At the base of this hillside is the ‘lower pitch’ which is now used by Dover Rugby Club. A previous club Dover FC, played matches here from 1897, before moving to the ‘upper pitch’ in 1951. It was in this year that the current Main Stand was opened. This stand which runs the full length of the pitch on one side is a small covered all seated stand, comprising of five rows of seats. There are a number of supporting pillars running across the front of this stand, which could impede your view. The seating areas stand is split into two sides, with an enclosed Press Box, situated near to the halfway line. Above the middle area of the stand is a small upper tier that contains seating and looks to be used for Directors and Corporate Sponsors.
Opposite the Main Stand is the new Family Stand that was built in 2016. Running for half the length of the pitch, towards the Dover End, this new stand is a smart looking one. Having a capacity of 500 seats, this stand is covered. On one side there is an unusual looking security control box, which looks out onto the stadium, whilst below the control box is the player’s tunnel. On the other side of this Family Stand towards the River End, the ground is largely open, with just the clubhouse bar sitting in one corner. Both ends are similar looking covered terraces, that again have a number of supporting pillars. They are slightly unusual in that they are larger on one side than the other, as they have been built on a slope, which is evident from the pitch, which slopes up towards the Main Stand. There is a small scoreboard located above each end terrace.
Normally fans are not segregated at the ground, but if they are then the Dover End Terrace is given over to visiting supporters. This stand can accommodate 2,000 fans. From here you can enjoy some great views over the valley beyond. However, this comes at a price, as it is quite a hike up to the stadium (cars and coaches are parked down on the lower level), although the Club does sometimes have a golf buggy available to transport the less mobile up the hill. The ground is also quite exposed so especially in winter wrap up well as it can be quite a cold and biting wind that comes off the English Channel. Refreshments available inside include; Cheeseburger (£3.30), Quarter Pounder Burgers (£3.20), Hot Dogs (£2.80) and a selection of filled rolls (£2). Usually, the Crabble is an enjoyable and a memorable ground to visit.
There is a sizeable club house bar within the ground, which when games are not segregated, welcomes both home and away fans. Although rather sparse, there is a warm welcome, plus the bar enjoys some great views across the ground. The nearest pub to the ground is the Cricketers on Crabble Avenue, just across the road from the lower rugby pitch.
If you arrive at Kearnsey Railway Station, then on the walking route to the ground below, you will also pass the Royal Oak pub that has real ale, offers food and has BT Sports.
Otherwise, if you are spending a bit of time in Dover town centre beforehand, there near to the railway station on Cannon Street, is a Wetherspoons pub called the Eight Bells. This pub is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Kevin Mackenzie a visiting Bristol Rovers fan recommends the; ‘Rack of Ale on Park Place in the middle of Dover. We had great banter with the Dover fans there and were treated to fantastic hospitality from the owners. This included free scotch eggs, pork pies, chips and even snails throughout our visit. Plus the ales and ciders were top notch’.
For those who have not been to Dover before, then remember it is further than you think. When you leave the M25 and join the M2, you feel as if you are almost there, when in fact you still have 60 miles still to go!
Leave the M25 at Junction 2 and take the A2 then the M2 towards Dover. On the outskirts of Dover on the A2 again, you will reach a roundabout, that has a McDonalds on your left. At this roundabout take the fourth exit onto Whitfield Hill, signposted Dover North/River. At the bottom of this road you will reach another roundabout, where you take the first exit onto London Road, going towards Dover Town Centre. At the next set of traffic lights, you make a 180 degree right turn (so you are almost coming back on yourself) onto Crabble Road. After passing under a railway bridge the entrance to the grounds is further down on the left. There is free parking available at the rugby ground, inside the entrance.
The nearest railway station is Kearsney which is around a 15 minute walk away from the ground. This station is served by trains from London Victoria and Dover Priory, although not all trains stop at this station, so check beforehand.
Dover Priory Railway Station is also served by trains from London St Pancras and Charing Cross. However, the station is over two miles away from the ground, so either take another train to Kearnsey or take a taxi up to the Crabble grounds. Brian Scott adds; ‘You can take the 90 or 91 bus from Pencester Road in the town centre up to the ground. However, there is no return bus available after evening matches.’
If walking from Kearnsey to the ground, then on exiting the station entrance turn right and walk down to the end of the station approach road. At the bottom of this road turn right, proceed under the railway bridge and take the next left into Lower Road (signposted River). Continue along Lower Road, passing the Royal Oak pub on your left and at the bottom of Lower Road (with the river on your left), turn left at the t-junction. Follow the road alongside the river passing the Crabble Mill on your left. At the end of this road turn right into Crabble Road and the entrance to the grounds is up on the left.
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:
Remember if travelling by train then you can normally save on the cost of fares by booking in advance.
Visit the the trainline website to see how much you can save on the price of train tickets.
Click on the trainline logo below:
Over 60’s £15
Under 18’s £9
Under 11’s Free*
As above but with an additional transfer fee paid within the ground (£1.50 Adults, Over 60’s/Under 18’s £1, Under 11’s Free).
* When accompanied by an adult (maximum 4 Under 11’s per adult) for League games. For Cup games, a charge may apply.
Official Programme: £2.50
Folkestone Invicta and Dartford.
7,000 v Folkestone
13th October 1951
2018-2019: 1,123 (National League)
2017-2018: 1,355 (National League)
2016-2017: 1,295 (National League)
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If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me [email protected] and I’ll update the guide.
Thanks to Eddie Allcorn for providing the photo of the new Family Stand at the Crabble Athletic Ground.