long orchard

long orchard

Now part of Birchfield playing field


Long Orchard was the 'home' orchard of Great Lyde Farm (now the Great Lyde Inn) although in 1653, as seen on Philip Byles' map below, it had been called the Ragg. The name Ragg derived from the Middle English ragge, meaning land on which rough stone was found.

It formed the western end of the northern side of a steep-sided valley through which ran Lyde Brook, the southern boundary of Great Lyde Farm. A remnant of the steep valley profile may still be seen in the northern part of Lower Cowleaze (907) however in the late 1960s and 1970s the valley was used as a landfill waste site. When the valley was all but filled, earth was brought in to level this and the adjoining fields - forming the flat field surface we see today. Since it is made up ground it cannot have housing built on it and will remain a green (technically brown) site since there is a danger of gas build-up from the rotting waste below. A walk along the path to the River Yeo will show several vent pipes.

The 1842 Tithe Map showed that Long Orchard (899) was bounded on its south by the Lyde Brook, to the east by Little Home Close (901), to the north by Lyde Sleight (897) and to the west by Higher Sleight (896). The 1846 Tithe Award noted that it was 3a 1r 0p and stated its usage as an orchard.

Today Long Orchard forms the northwestern part of Birchfield playing field, to the north of Birchfield Primary School, from about the end of Magna Close to Hertford Road.



Philip Byles' map of Lyde Farm dated 31 January 1653. Long Orchard is shown as 'The Ragg' in the lower left quadrant.


The Lyde area reproduced from the 1842 Tithe Map. /p>


The 1946 aerial photograph of Great Lyde Farm


The same area today 'borrowed' from Google maps and taken around 2010 when the groundworks for Wyndham Park were being started. This is some twenty years after Great Home Close and Lower Cowleaze had been used as a waste disposal site and the valley leveled off.


TThe 1842 Tithe Map superimposed over a modern map.