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Egham - Runnymede Meadow (Surrey)
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Thanks to Andrew for sending us these pictures of a grove of Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) at Runnymede Meadow in Coopers Hill Lane.

Andrew says, "I have found a grove of redwoods. They are at Runnymede in Berkshire and sit just next to a collapsed fence that I think is the boundary of Brunel university - it looks like they may have actually collapsed the fence through growth. They are not far from the airforce memorial. They sit on a hill which is riddled with streams that seem to follow old tree root holes and old rabbit warrens.

The largest - which I'm standing against - is 4.15M at 1.5M height. There are ten altogether with lots of new saplings springing out of the larger ones and two smaller ones of about 30cm girth.

It's a little like being in the Pacific Northwest as they are in a mature wood and there is a Sitka Spruce not far off their height right next to them, along with a scattering of red wooded Cypresses. It's called Coopers Hill wood and fittingly there is an acre of land given to the U.S as a JFK Memorial about a kilometer or so from them.

Thanks also to John who wrote to say, "I used to be a student at Brunel University in whose grounds the trees are. The trees are in the grounds of an old stately house which was used as a test ground for Kew gardens; before planting in Kew they were planted at Runnymede to see what sort of habitats suited the trees best. At the top of the hill are chestnuts, holm oaks and other trees. There are some tall monkey trees which the groundsmen said were planted from seeds taken from Tutankhamen's tomb by Howard Carter (though how true that is no-one knows!).

The grove of redwood which will be of interest to you is halfway down the hill towards the river. They are planted in an area once used for coppicing when an Abbey stood on the grounds where the stately house is now.

I must confess that as a student, the area in the middle of the circle of redwoods was used most weekends by students as a place to have a bonfire. I spent may happy nights there, settled down against the trunk of a redwood, watching the fire burn. Only once in the 4 years did the fire even get close to the trees, we loved them and were careful to protect them from the fire, it was a college tradition to go down there and in the 40 years students were having fun none of the redwoods sustained any damage!

Thanks again to Andrew for the above pictures of a Wellingtonia on Runnymede meadow, which he says is " across the Thames on your left as you drive from Old Windsor to Staines."
Runnymede Meadow is located on the banks of the River Thames, and on the A308 road in Egham about 4 miles east of Windsor. Along with adjoining lands it totals 182 acres and was presented to the National Trust by the first Lady Fairhaven and her two sons in memory of Urban Hanlon Broughton in 1929.

Runnymede was the riverside site of the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215 by King John. On the opposite bank of the Thames from Runnymede lies the important archaeological site of Ankerwycke where there is the remains of a 12th-century priory and the Ankerwycke Yew, believed to be over 2,000 years old.

The Air Forces Memorial commemorates the men and women of the Allied Air Forces who died during the Second World War and records the names of the 20,456 airmen who have no known grave. Views over Windsor and the surrounding counties can be seen from the top of the tower and visitors can see aircraft taking off and landing at Heathrow. The memorial was designed by Edward Maufe, architect of Guildford Cathedral.

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