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Giant Redwood - September 2008 Loch Tay
Coast Redwoods - September 2008
Thanks to Tam for sending his latest Scottish Redwood finds in September/October 2008. He wrote, "Not least of my findings were these I found at Kenmore at the head of Loch Tay in Perthshire. I remembered reading somewhere that there were some Coast Redwoods to be seen here and what beauties they are. I counted three Coast and a large Giant. All of these trees are over 8m in circumference. When I was showing the photos to my wife I remarked that at the base of these trees there always seems to be a scene of carnage with all the branches that fall off over the years, this can be seen in some of the snaps.

There is a lovely woodland walk in among some huge trees including the Redwoods and some lovely examples of Douglas Fir and Silver Fir. The path is at the north eastern edge of the loch. I took this photo from the bridge over the Tay looking back towards the area where they can be found.

Tam also mentions, "The one frustrating thing with such huge trees is attempting to get the whole tree in the photo. I don't suppose I have to remind you of this though Ron."

Yes, it can be extremely tricky sometimes. A lovely set of Redwoods, in a lovely part of the world. I have visited the area around Loch Tay myself in the past, but sadly before I was "into" Redwoods, although there are plenty of other beautiful sights in the area on which to feast one's eyes.

Giant Redwood - May 2009
Tam's discovery here was a gem, and on a trip to Scotland in 2009 I went to see this marvellous location, although later I realised I had missed one of the three Coast Redwoods that he mentioned. Tucked away in a sliver of woodland between Loch Tay and the A827 road are a treasure trove of magnificent trees of various types. Most significantly (for me), there are a Giant Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) and three Coast Redwoods (Sequoia semperivrens), although I only found two of the latter. Huge beasts of trees, these rank among the biggest in Britain, particularly the Coast Redwoods.

There is a narrow walkway cleared through the length of the woods, but you will need your wellies in the wet season. On the day I visited it was very wet underfoot and so crowded it was difficult to get measurements, but it was well worth the effort. Off the track the wooodland looks almost like a jungle, particularly around the Coast Redwood where the discarded limbs have been left to pile up over the decades.

Coast Redwood - May 2009
The Coast Redwood in particular are the most striking I have seen so far, their broad but straight trunks being deeply furrowed with the usual soft bark. A view up along the trunk really does give the impression of a tree that has its origins firmly in the dinosaur era, with relatively thin branches sticking outward in an ungainly manner.
This unusual strip of land hosts a collection of other rather stunning trees many of which, although not quite matching the Redwoods, display immense and stout trunks, some of which have a straightness and smoothness of form that is particularly eerie! The woodland definitely gives the impression of a site that was created some 150 years ago and laid out with a collection of several of each of trees that the landscapers knew would grow to become notable specimens. It appears as though, over time, its original plan or pupose has become lost and the land is now overgrown and tangled with feral trees and bushes.

Still, it has become a terrific little adventure walk for those looking to find something quite unusual, so dig out your maps and hunt down this wild little treasure by the side of the Loch Tay. It is certainly easy to see why Perthsire is called Big Tree Country; walking through this glade one can almost get a sense of how it must feel to stand next to the American Giants.

Howard Minnick wrote in 2011 to ask for some information, if you can help please get in touch via an email to Redwood World

"I am trying to get documentation information about locations where seedlings of Giant and Coastal Redwoods were planted from the original seedling stocks sent from California in 1853 by John, James, and Charles Matthew to their father Patrick Matthew, back in Scotland while they were there in the goldfields of California. This event would have been just before James and Charles were sent by their father to take the money made from the goldfields and go to New Zealand to buy land. The other brother John the oldest, was known to have stayed in California and is the one whom we actually believe sent the Redwood seedlings to his father in Scotland. We haven't been able to locate any additional information on John from that time on, so unfortunately, he's sort of lost historically, being the only one of the original 5 brothers and 3 sisters that we cannot fully track.

My name by the way is Howard Louis Minnick. I'm a 3rd Great Grandson of Patrick Matthew through another son named Alexander who took over managing two family farms located in Swchiling-Holstein an area around present day Hamburg in northern Germany. I live here in the United States. I stumbled on your site this morning and found that some of the trees shown in your locations were located by someone named Peggy and another named Tam and were or are thought to be from these original seedlings. A place called Gillies Hill beneath the walls of Stirling Castle is another location that is referenced several times where original seedlings from these Matthew stocks were planted as well as Hayford House in Camusbarron both in Stirlingshire. Gillie's Hill is an unusual but somewhat of a logical location since Patrick's wife Christian or Christina Nicol is a direct descendant through Mary de Bruce and Robert Oliphant son of William Oliphant the Castle Keep at the time of Edward Longshank's siege of Stirling Castle, just before William Wallace defeated Edward's army at Stirling bridge. Patrick is known also to have taken seedlings of trees and shrubs from Napolean Boneparte Estates in France and Belgium while Boneparte was in exile. He planted them in various locations throughout the surrounding Lothian countryside as well.

We have known in the family that these trees existed but didn't know where, only that a number of them had been planted in Perthshire. Since Inchture is the first actual location in the UK where Patrick's Redwood seedlings were planted and we also know that he gave friends and neighbours numbers of his seedlings, we would like to try and document as well as might be possible where.

Were the trees at Kenmore on the north east edge of Loch Tay as well as the grove at Scone Palace part of the seedlings from Patrick's stocks? Patrick was born on a farm called Rome which so happened to be very near and next to Scone Palace. So that would seem like a likely location.

I would appreciate any information you might have on the seedlings or any guidance to contact someone else who might have additional information."

* * * Update - September 2014 * * *

Mike wrote to say "A little more information on these redwoods and about the location of the graves of some of Patrick Matthew’s progeny can be found here: http://patrickmatthew.com/The%20Matthew%20Redwoods.html".

Many thanks Mike, I will email Howard to let him know about your page.

* * * Update - January 2016 * * *

Howard has done some fine work researching the original plantings of Giant Sequoia's and he wrote to say "Patrick Matthew who along with his son John D. Matthew were the ones who won the race to introduce the Redwoods to Europe. The first original plantings of the Giant Sequoia's outside of their original indigenous native California habitat were planted at Inchtures in the Carse of Gowrie, Perth Shire, Scotland. The original seed stock came from a packet of seeds collected from what is today known as the North Grove of Calaveras Big Tree State Park and were sent to Patrick Matthew in 1853 by his son John D. Matthew, a Mining Engineer and Botanist prospecting for gold with two of his brothers near the Chilean Mining Camp. The origin of those seeds was described in a letter written in early July 1853 arriving with the seed packet which Patrick Matthew then sent excerpts of to John Lyndel the editor of the Gardeners Chronicle. John D. Matthew... as later proven in 1866... was also the originator of naming the trees after the Duke of Wellington. John Matthew is the originator of the Wellingtonia gigantea name that even to this day some in Europe still incorrectly use to refer to these trees.. ( See patrickmatthew.com...then click on "The Matthew Redwoods" in the Blue subject field and read below. ) John Lyndel sat on that letter for a year and did not publish it until 1854. During that interim he falsely portrayed himself as the one who proposed the Wellington name and William Lobb of Veitch Nursery as the individual who introduced the Trees to Europe. The matter was finally settled 13 years later in 1866 a year after John Lyndel died when the then editorial staff wrote a retraction and credited John D. Matthew with having collected the first seed and the Wellingtonia naming and Patrick Matthew as the first to introduce and plant the first Sequoias in Europe."

Many thanks for your extensive research into this Howard, this is great information.

Coast Redwood - August 2018
Thanks to Terry for the above photograph. He wrote to say that he "first saw them in California what a magnificent tree to see them in Kenmore what a surprise, a sight to remember for a long time."

* * * Update - September 2018 * * *

Thanks to Fiona who sent this link to an article from The Courier which is headed; "Groundbreaking efforts by 19th century Perthshire farmer to propagate giant redwood trees recognised."

The article states that in 1853 Patrick Matthew's son John sent tree specimens back from America to his father, including the first seedlings of both the Giant Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) and the Coastal Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) to be planted in Europe. Patrick Matthew’s great great grandson Howard Minnick has been researching his ancestor for years and it's good to see his efforts have been fruitful.

Common Names and Latin Name No. Latitude and Longitude OS National Grid Elevation
(above sea-level)
Height Girth Date Measured
Giant Redwood
Sequoiadendron giganteum
1 N56.58581
NN 76635 45575 383ft
47.5m 8.5m May 2009
Coast Redwood
Sequoia sempervirens
2 N56.58604
NN 76628 45601 393ft
44.4m 7.9m May 2009
3 N56.58516
NN 76550 45505 354ft
46m 8.13m May 2009
Girth was measured at 1.5 metres from ground

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