Formed in 1913 following the demise of the local rugby club, the first incarnation of Tiverton Town was as Tiverton Athletic FC. In those early days the club played in the East Devon League and was based at the Athletic Ground (formerly the Agricultural Show Ground, and now known as Amory Park). The ground had a huge wooden pavilion with a seated verandah. In 1921 however, the club was effectively evicted in favour of the reformed rugby club, and relocated to Elm Field (aka The Elms), ironically a rugby ground close by.
The Elms was evidently a well-appointed venue with a wooden 150 seat stand on one side, and a grass bank behind each goal. Unfortunately, war intervened once again and the Elms was requisitioned as a storage dump for coal. Today, the ground is covered by the Blundell Road car park although the house after which it was named, still stands.
Before the war, in 1929 the club had become Tiverton Town following several mergers with other local sides and, on reforming in 1946 Tivvy moved to their current ground at Ladysmead. Back then, the pitch ran at right angles to its current position. As compensation for losing their home for a second time, Tiverton received £10 in compensation and, in addition were allowed to salvage part of the old stand which was re-sited at the new ground. Despite this, the ground was very basic and the teams had to change at the nearby Cross Keys pub.
Today, whilst not situated in the most picturesque of surroundings, compared with many clubs in Devon and Cornwall; Ladysmead is a neat and well-maintained venue, with cover on all four sides of the pitch. Many of the developments ran parallel with the club’s successes during the 1990s during which they were four times winners of the Western League; and twice lifted the FA Vase before moving up the pyramid into the Southern League. The fine clubhouse however, which stands along the north side of the pitch, was opened on 5 March 1984 by Mick Channon and replaced an earlier building erected in 1964. A roof with five supporting pillars has been added onto the front and provides shelter over an area of shallow terrace in front.
Opposite is a long fairly low-level stand erected in the late 1990s that extends some way on either side of the half-way line. Additional seats were installed in 2002 bring the total seated capacity of the ground to over 500, in the club colours of yellow black, although the view is obscured from some due to the roof supports. A covered terraced area was built at the main road end of the ground in 1996, whilst the west end of the ground is the latest part of the ground to be covered, albeit with a smaller more basic structure with netting to catch stray balls.
Leave the M5 at J27. Take the second Tiverton turn-off (A361). At the end of the dual carriageway turn left and then cross over the new roundabout after 500 yards. Carry on straight over mini-roundabout, and the ground is on the right after 200 yards.
Tiverton Parkway (BR), 7 miles.