Epsom Downs Racecourse is situated on Epsom and Walton Downs. The Downs is an area of 600 acres of unspoilt downland where, on a clear day, the view takes in the whole of London as well as panoramas of rural Surrey.
Before 1936, the Downs were the subject of conflicting interests - the interests of the public, as represented by the Council, and the interests of the Epsom Grandstand Association and Mr. Stanley Wootton which inclined towards the development of the Downs for racing and training purposes. As the Council had limited powers to safeguard the public's interest and were reliant on the goodwill of the Association and the Owner, they could take no active part in the preservation of the Downs. The conclusion was reached that the only way to secure a measure of regulation and control of the Downs was to promote a private bill which received Royal Assent on 31 July 1936.
The Act has since been replaced by the Epsom and Walton Downs Regulation Act 1984, which is now the statute covering the use of the Downs and which gives the general public right of access for 'air and exercise' on foot over the Downs, although racehorse training activity has priority over all other users before midday each day.
The Act has ensured the preservation of the history and heritage of Racing in Epsom which makes Epsom and Walton Downs the unique and compelling place that it is.