Those who are both groundhoppers and plane spotters - and Iíve no doubt whatsoever that they exist - will probably have visited the Orchard already ... and if not, they should. As the photographs on this page illustrate, the ground is directly underneath the approach to one of the Heathrow runways, with a plane flying overhead approximately every thirty seconds!
If ever there was an inappropriate name for a ground, then it has to be the Orchard. Not surprisingly, it derives from the fact that the land on which the ground now stands was once an orchard ... but how things have changed! The ground is situated just off the busy A30, and if heading towards London, you need to turn right when you come to Hatton Cross station on your left. Be warned: if you happen to miss the turning it is not easy to turn around and come back in the opposite direction!
Teams have played under the name of Bedfont FC since the end of the 1800s. The current club was formed in 1900 as Bedfont Institute and in 1968 amalgamated with two local clubs, Bedfont Rangers (founded 1950), and Fairholme United (founded 1953). The club was later joined by Interharvester in 1973, and then Bedfont Eagles joined in 1988 to form the modern day club.
In the early days, matches were played on a number of local sites, the first being Bedfont Green, From there the club had a short spell at Rectory Meadow in Hanworth, before moving to Bedfont Recreation ground. As there were no changing rooms, the teams changed at Bedfont Institute and walked the half mile to the ground. During the war years this was used as an army camp for the Royal Artillery and was fitted with four enormous anti aircraft guns. Wimpey who were building Heathrow Airport, carved out a pitch in the airport which was used until the new recreation ground was built.
In recent years the club erected a modern 100 seat stand on the far side of the pitch. This is of the same design that is becoming increasingly common, and larger versions can be found at Eastbourne Borough FC, and Havant & Waterlooville FC. The stand is also virtually identical to that at Short Lane, home of neighbours Ashford Town (Middx) FC.
The small corrugated iron shelter that originally stood on the site of the new stand, was moved to a position behind the far goal, and provides additional refuge from the elements. The remainder of the ground is uncovered, with hard standing on all four sides. Two quite large brick dugouts painted in the club colours (originally claret & blue) stand on the near touchline.
The ground is fronted by a smallish car park, and first of two clubhouses. The second clubhouse is adjacent to the large turnstile block and can be accessed from inside the ground.
Follow the A30 towards London until coming to Hatton Cross tube station on the left. Turn right at the junction into Faggs Road, and then sharp right into Hatton Road. The car park is opposite the Duke of Wellington PH on the left.
Rail & bus
Hatton Cross (tube) 10 minutes walk. Bus route Westlink 203.