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Giant Redwood

Coast Redwood
Thanks to Lee for the location of more Redwoods in St. Austell. The photographs above show both a Giant and a Coast Redwood that he found quite by chance. "My girlfriend and I were driving around locally when I spotted the crown of a perfect Giant peeking up above the other trees, and snatched a glimpse of a broad, reddened trunk as we sped by. I managed to persuade Laura to return the next day so I could photograph it and we parked up in the car park of the nearby pub (The Waterwheel) and walked south down the road.

To my dismay, I'd been done again. As I got closer, I realised it was just another Japanese Cedar, living up to its name of 'Imposter' with uncanny perfection! We decided to walk on and go down a small private turn-off to see if there was anything else non-native about in this small expanse of wood. After all, it was odd that a Japanese Cedar should be thriving in amongst all the local, established trees.

My suspicions proved well founded, because as we were about to turn back due to failing light, we came across the *ahem* gated entrance of a care home. And there it was, evergreen canopy silhouetted and showing between the leafless natives. It was a Giant Sequoia, and I certainly wouldn't have been able to see it from the main road, so I guess we just got lucky! I managed to climb the slope it's growing on and get right up to it.

It's very cramped in by the rest of the wood, the tree is missing all of its lower branches. The bark was incredibly wet due to the fair amount of rain we'd had, and also was missing large pieces. Bees had even made a hive in one hole in the trunk! Due to the proximity of the other trees and the failing light, getting height estimations was proving impossible, and getting photos was a nightmare. Certainly another location I'd need to return, in order to get the info I want and the shots.

On the way back through the undergrowth, I had my second lucky find (as I'd walked right by it earlier and not even noticed!) - another massive, spongy trunk, this time a Coast Redwood. This was also buried in with other trees, but it's planted at the edge of the wood and luckily has already gained sufficient height to be much taller than the surrounding trees.

Yes, this all sounds a very familiar scenario for a Redwood search; the possible sighting, some persistent searching, sometimes disappointment but often the reward!

Those Japanese Cedar certainly can look like a Giant Redwood from a distance, I have been hoodwinked by them several times. Still, it was wise to continue looking once you had found the unusual tree among the natives because it often turns out that you're among the overgrown legacy of a former specimen tree lover's garden. Neighbouring estate owners may well have planted similar trees to keep up with the Victorian Jones', so the whole area can often contain even more Redwoods. I have always said that where you find one Redwood there is often another close by, thanks to those provident and far-sighted Victorians.

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