Newmarket is a market town in the English county of Suffolk, approximately 65 miles (105 kilometres) north of London, which has become famous because of its connection with race horses and thoroughbred horse racing at Newmarket Racecourse. It is the largest racehorse training centre in Britain, and home to several horseracing institutions. Nine of the UK's 31 Group 1 flat races are held at Newmarket, the same number as at Ascot Racecourse.
The town has special horse routes so the horses can reach the gallops safely from the many training establishments occupied by top trainers. More than 2,500 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. Newmarket has 3 main sections of Heath, all of which are used to train the racehorses on. "Racecourse side" is located next to the Rowley Mile Racecourse and is a predominately flat area. "Warren Hill" overlooks the town and consists of 3 all weather canters and a multitude of grass canters. "Bury Side" is the name given to the area located near the Bury Road and the Railway Line. These areas 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. This hill is part of the chalk formation the Newmarket Ridge.
Most of the Newmarket-based racing stables are situated in the centre of the town, where they can easily access the gallops. Outside the town the land-use is dominated by thoroughbred breeding, studs occupying large areas in every direction. Around 70 licensed trainers and more than 60 stud farms operate in and around Newmarket.Dalham Hall Stud (the headquarters of Darley), Cheveley Park Stud (which local lore claims was once owned by King Canute), and Banstead Manor Stud (Headquarters of Juddmonte Farms) are well-known examples all which can be found in the village of Cheveley, three miles from Newmarket.
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, a distance of over 8 miles.
Three years later the first nine miles or so of this line, the stretch from Great Chesterford to Six Mile Bottom, was superseded by a more viable section linking Six Mile Bottom directly with Cambridge, and so the Great Chesterford - Six Mile Bottom section closed in 1851, one of the earliest closures in British railway history (the former Bourne Bridge station is believed to have been partly incorporated into a public house just across the road from a station opened later on another line - Pampisford, on the now-closed Cambridge - Haverhill - Sudbury route). With the development of other rail lines the Newmarket terminus was replaced by the present through station in 1902; it was used as a goods station until 1967 and demolished in 1980.
A short distance to the north east is the 1,100 yard Warren Hill tunnel. North of the tunnel, a separate station, Warren Hill, was built for raceday use.
In late 2006, Newmarket introduced a Park and Ride service running from Studlands industrial estate to the town centre, whilst at the same time parking charges were introduced to the town.
The 1972 Local Government Bill as originally proposed would have transferred the town (and Haverhill) to Cambridgeshire. The Local Government Commission for England had suggested in the 1960s that the border around Newmarket also be altered, in West Suffolk's favour. Newmarket Urban District Council supported the move to Cambridgeshire, but ultimately the government decided to withdraw this proposal and keep the existing boundary, despite intense lobbying from the UDC.