Our tree memory for April is shared by Avril Finnie. Avril was born in Coventry and grew up in the Whitmore Park area. Avril worked for many years at Warwick University Library as a Customer Support Coordinator for Customer Services. She has recently moved with her family to the enviable location of Penmaenmawr in North Wales.
Avril says “When I was growing up I would often spend school holidays going to Coundon Park with my cousin or friends. We would invariably end up exploring St. Thomas’ Church and graveyard that was opposite the park on the Tamworth Road in Keresley.
In front of the church was a very old and large tree, I believe it was a Redwood tree. This tree was known to us children as the ‘Knocking tree’. The fascinating thing to us was that you could hit the tree with your fist as hard as you could and it wouldn’t hurt as the bark was very soft and spongy. I was intrigued to find out that the spongey bark helps the tree to withstand low intensity wild fires. The bark can be 12 centimetres thick and can even reach up to over a metre thick at its base.
Perhaps we shouldn’t have been playing in the churchyard, but my memories are of happy carefree times and being in awe of such a beautiful resilient tree as our ‘knocking tree’. The magnificent Redwood.”