Capacity: 6,500 (2,950 Seated)
You don’t often find a football ground that puts club directors behind the goal, but that’s what you’ll find at Plainmoor.
A site that dates back to the 19th century, it has been the home of Torquay United Football Club since 1921.
When the Gulls were formed in 1899, the Plainmoor site was home to Torquay Athletic Rugby Football Club. Athletic secured the lease of Torquay United’s Recreation Ground in 1904, leaving Plainmoor without tenants until Ellacombe FC moved into the vacated site.
Torquay United merged with Ellacombe to become Torquay Town, who would use the Plainmoor site alongside local rivals Babbacombe. Torquay Town and Babbacombe would merge to form the modern-day version of Torquay United in 1921, being elected into Division Three South of the Football League six years later.
Multiple renovations in the decades since have created the Plainmoor that is in place today.
Between the summer of 2018 and early 2019, Plainmoor was shared between Torquay United and Truro City, a team located more than two hours away in Cornwall who needed a temporary venue away from their regular home, Treyew Road.
Location and Getting There
The Plainmoor name comes from the suburb of Torquay it is located in, around one mile northeast of Torquay Town Centre. Babbacombe Downs is around 0.5 miles away to the northeast, Walls Hill is around 0.9 miles away to the east, and the Princess Gardens are around one mile away to the south.
Coming to Plainmoor by car is certainly possible, albeit the drive down to Torquay is a very long one for many people.
There is no dedicated parking available around the ground’s vicinity, so Torquay United recommend arriving in good time and making use of the surrounding streets to park. Ensure that you are legally allowed to park where you find though and do not block the drives of any residents.
Getting to Plainmoor by rail can prove trickier.
The nearest station to the ground is Torre, served by a Greater Western Railway line between Exmouth and Paignton. It is located around one mile to the west and walking to Plainmoor from here can take around 20-25 minutes along a winding route. You first head east along Newton Road, turn left onto Upton Road, right onto a road located opposite Glendower Garage, left at a roundabout that leads onto Lymington Road, fully across a roundabout that leads onto Upton Hill, follow Upton Hill till you head left on St. Marychurch Road, shortly after turn right onto Bronshill Road, later turn left onto Westlands Lane, and continue up this till you reach Plainmoor.
Train services to Torre Station are of course not that regular, and most people coming to Torquay may instead want to use Torquay Station near to the coast, which is served by Great Western Railway and CrossCountry.
If you want to walk from here to the football ground, it can take around 40 minutes. Alternatively, it is possible to walk a short distance to Torbay Road right by the coast and take the Number 12 bus service to the Abbey Road. From there, you can change onto the Number 35A bus service and continue on it until you reach the Haytor Road stop which is a short walk away from Plainmoor.
Taxi services from Torquay Station are also available, though they can be expensive if it is just you using one.
Outside the Stadium
If you are coming to Plainmoor from Torre Station, you will likely approach the ground from Westlands Lane to the south, bringing you first to the Sunday Independent Family Stand.
Its exterior uses a concrete base with blue corrugated iron higher up. An access road brings you up close to this exterior, and there is a footpath running right alongside it that fans can walk along. This side of Plainmoor houses Torquay’s Football In The Community Entrance, as well as the Torquay United Club Shop, Matchday Ticket Office, Executive Boxes and Lounge Entrances, and other Club Offices.
Turnstiles for the Sunday Independent Family Stand can be found to the right of the Club Shop, next to the ground’s southeast corner.
Immediately in front of the stand’s exterior is a large building which houses a swimming pool inside. There are private car parking spaces in front and to the side of this building.
Heading round past the Sunday Independent Family Stand in a clockwise direction brings you to the Thatchers Popular Terrace.
Its exterior is similar in design to the adjacent Family Stand, using a concrete base with blue corrugated iron higher up. A lot of this stand’s exterior however has a tall stone wall in front of it that runs alongside Marnham Road. There is an entrance to the Torquay United Indoor Bowling Club by the ground’s southwest corner, though this of course is not in use on a matchday.
Turnstiles for the Thatchers Popular Terrace can be found towards the middle of the exterior, in an opening along the stone wall.
There is an old concrete turnstile block in line with the ground’s northwest corner, but this is no longer in use.
Plainmoor’s North Stand is better known as the Warbro Road Stand after the street that runs along beyond it.
There is a back alleyway in place right behind the stand’s concrete and blue corrugated iron exterior, leading to a garage at one end. You can walk up if you really wish to, but most fans will instead head a little further along Marnham Road, turn right onto Warbro Road, pass the houses on Devons Road, and then turn right again onto a public footpath if they want to get from the western side of Plainmoor to its eastern side.
The turnstiles for the Warbro Road Stand, which are marked as being for the Away Terrace, can be found along this public footpath by the ground’s northeast corner.
The building right next to the start of this footpath is known as the Gulls Lodge.
Continuing along this footpath past the northeast turnstiles brings you to the Main Stand. It is known as Bristow’s Bench after the late former director Paul Bristow who generously donated to Torquay United after winning the lottery.
The stand follows the same exterior design as the rest of Plainmoor, using a white concrete base with blue corrugated iron higher up and cantilever at the top. There isn’t in truth that much of note along the base apart from windows, the entrance to a School for Inspiring Talents, and the Main Entrance for Players and Officials.
Turnstiles for Bristow’s Bench itself can be found in the ground’s southeast corner, next to the turnstiles used by those in the Sunday Independent Family Stand. One side of these turnstile block is decorated with a rather colourful mural.
The Westlands School, with its rather odd-shaped building, is immediately out in front of Bristow’s Bench. The car parking spaces alongside the footpath are for School Staff only.
Inside the Stadium
The Sunday Independent Family Stand consists of a single tier of seating.
The majority of the seats inside are coloured yellow, although the small block next to the ground’s southwest corner is rather unusually coloured blue instead. Seats at the very back of the stand are blue and green in colour, dedicated for executive use with executive boxes placed up behind them. You would typically expect the Directors Box to be along the length of the pitch rather than behind a goal, but this not the case at Plainmoor.
Your view from anywhere inside the Sunday Independent Family Stand is perfectly clear as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof.
There is little protection from the sides for those sat in the seating area, however.
The Thatchers Popular Terrace consists of a single tier of standing terrace.
There are rows of metal bars running along the front and middle of the stand for fans to lean on, with the terraced area being split in two by an entrance from the concourse part-way along. Housed atop the stand’s roof is a covered box which holds the ground’s matchday camera.
Your view from anywhere inside the Thatchers Popular Terrace is perfectly clear as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof above.
The end of the stand next to the southwest corner has a windshield in place which provides protection to the rows further back, though the rows further forward have less protection from the sides. The opposite end of the stand, next to the northwest corner, has no windshield in place and much more limited protection from the sides.
You can find a large electronic screen in the northwest corner between the Thatchers Popular Terrace and the Warbro Road Stand. It can best be seen by those at the opposite end of Plainmoor.
The Warbro Road Stand consists of a single tier of standing terrace.
There are rows of metal bars running along the front and middle of the stand for fans to lean on, with a Police Control Box in place at the end next to the northwest corner.
Your view from anywhere inside the Warbro Road Stan is perfectly clear as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof above.
The Police Control Box can help in providing protection at one end of the stand, whilst the opposite end is left much more open and exposed.
Bristow’s Bench consists of a single tier of yellow seating which has the letters TORQUAY spelt out in blue across the blocks. This seating area is elevated above ground accessible via small staircases down at the front. You can also find a small Press Box right up at the back of this seating area. There are flat platforms down in front of the seating area for disabled supporters to use.
Plainmoor’s dugouts are also housed down at the front, with the stadium’s tunnel to the right of centre and the changing rooms located inside.
Your view from anywhere inside Bristow’s Bench is perfectly clear because of the cantilever roof above.
Windshields are in place at either end, but they do not fully protect the front rows of the elevated seating area. There are small walls in place here instead to offer protection for those sat right at the front.
Away fans are housed behind the goal in the Warbro Road Stand. This is a single tier of standing terrace that has rows of metal bars running along the front and middle for fans to lean on.
Views from inside this stand are perfectly clear, though it is the only the Police Control Box at one end that offers protection from the sides. Around 1,100 supporters can be housed in here on a matchday.
Additionally, Torquay United can make up to 500 seats available in the adjacent Bristow’s Bench. This is an elevated seating area that offers perfectly clear views and windshields that protect good protection to the rows further back.
Away supporters are given the blocks nearest to the Warbro Road Stand, with netting normally used to segregate this section from any home supporters sat elsewhere in Bristow’s Bench.
The turnstiles for away supporters can be found in the ground’s northeast corner, along a public footpath between Westlands School and Bristow’s Bench. You can get to it from off either Warbro Road to the north of the ground or from off Westlands Lane to the south.
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include*:
-Boots and Laces outside the stadium's southwest corner (Away Supporters Welcome)
-The Buccaneer Inn (43 Babbacombe Road, TQ1 3LN) (Away Supporters Welcome) (Located in Babbacombe near Babbacombe Downs)
-The Castle (142-144 Union Street, TQ2 5QB) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)
-The Clock Tower (23 Torwood Street, TQ1 1ED) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located in more central Torquay near to Torquay Marina)
-The George Inn (48 Babbacombe Road, TQ1 3SW) (Away Supporters Welcome) (Located in Babbacombe near Babbacombe Downs)
*There are few pubs within close range of Plainmoor and the recommendation is to find a drink in either Babbacombe to the northeast or in more central Torquay instead.
Plainmoor is a good, modern football ground that offers an excellent mix of seating and standing for those behind the goal or along the length of the pitch. Having the executives and directors housed behind a goal rather than by the longer side of the pitch is something different to what you would find at other grounds as well.
It is admittedly easier to reach this stadium by car rather than train, but once there it is fairly simple to navigate around with turnstiles easily accessible from off surrounding roads and footpaths.
It can be a long trip down to Torquay for most coming from elsewhere in the UK, but coming to a place like Plainmoor makes the journey worthwhile.
Worth checking out first hand.