Felled Sycamore Gap tree to be cut up and moved to a secret location before its fate is decided

12 October 2023, 08:52

The 50-foot tree will be moved to protect Hadrian’s Wall
The 50-foot tree will be moved to protect Hadrian’s Wall. Picture: Alamy

By Sam Rucker

The much-loved, 300-year-old sycamore tree that was felled by vandals will finally be moved two weeks after it was cut down – but its ultimate fate is still unknown.

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A crane will lift the 50-foot tree today, after it was cut down and fell onto a section of Hadrian’s Wall. Historic England said the wall had sustained “some damage”.

The tree will now be moved to “preserve” the Roman monument.

The Northumberland sycamore, made famous in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, was chopped down in September, with authorities calling it a "deliberate act of vandalism".

The fallen tree will now be transported to an unnamed National Trust property. But, the exact location has not been disclosed, to ensure the tree can be “safely stored”.

Read more: Concerned resident sets up £10,000 GoFundMe for 'full size bronze replica' after vandals cut down Sycamore Gap tree

The weight of the trunk means it will be impossible to lift it in one piece. It will, instead, be sawn up into large sections.

Its stump will be left in its place, with conservationists hoping new shoots will sprout in its place.

It has not been confirmed what will be done with the vandalised site.
It has not been confirmed what will be done with the vandalised site. Picture: Alamy

A National Trust spokesman said: “The tree is currently resting on Hadrian’s Wall in a precarious position, so it’s necessary we move it now, both to preserve the monument, and to make the site safe again for visitors.

“During the past fortnight, seeds from the tree have been collected by our specialist propagators and are being looked after at our Plant Conservation Centre.”

Two arrests have been made in search of those responsible for felling one of the country’s most photographed trees.

A 16-year-old boy and a man in his 60s have since been released on bail.

Read more: Felling of iconic Sycamore Gap tree also damaged Hadrian's Wall, with police still hunting culprit

There has been no confirmation about what will be done with the site moving forward, but ideas so far include making a memorial bench using the timber or displaying a cross-section of the trunk to allow visitors to see inside the tree.

“We’ve also been amazed and inspired by the offers of help and good wishes we’ve received,” the National Trust added in their statement. “It’s clear the tree at Sycamore Gap captured the imaginations of so many people who visited.”

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