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

28 September 2023, 13:59 | Updated: 11 October 2023, 11:59

The iconic tree has been chopped down and police are working to establish if an offence has been committed
The iconic tree has been chopped down and police are working to establish if an offence has been committed. Picture: @TwiceBrewedCo/Alamy

By Kit Heren

A fund has been set up by a concerned resident to raise £10,000 to build a full-sized bronze replica of a historic tree that is believed to have been felled by vandals.

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The 300-year-old tree at Sycamore Gap was cut down overnight with police suspecting foul play.

Now a fund has been created for a “bronze full size replica of the tree” to be cast and put in its place.

“This iconic tree means so much to so many and to destroy it leaves a scar on the both the County and the Country,” a GoFundMe page states.

The fund has not been set up in connection with the National Trust. A spokesperson for the trust said there are not current plans for a replacement.

The tree featured in Hollywood blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. Police suspect foul play.

Famous Northumberland Sycamore Gap tree ‘deliberately felled’

Police said they were investigating whether a criminal offence had been committed after pictures emerged on Thursday morning of the tree lying on its side by the wall, after apparently having been cut down.

The tree featured in the 1991 blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
The tree featured in the 1991 blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Picture: Screengrab

Hiker Andrea Daniels, one of the last people to see the tree before it was hacked down, said: "I can't believe this has happened to such an iconic and ancient tree.

"We were only there yesterday, marvelling at its beauty.

"It was such a privilege to be there, standing beneath Sycamore Gap and being dwarfed by it. It really was a force of nature. Now it's gone and we can't understand why anyone would do such a terrible thing."

Matt from The Twice Brewed Inn & Brew House, told LBC: “I was there this morning, white paint is to mark where to cut a wedge out of one side on where to fell it.

"That is not an accident, there are not many trees around here. You wouldn't fell it so it would hit Hadrian's Wall, which it did.

History gone: Police and onlookers at the stump of the tree
History gone: Police and onlookers at the stump of the tree. Picture: Alamy

"The site is not accessible, not easy to get to and it was done at night. It is clearly an act of vandalism, this isn't like spray painting on a wall."

"Trek for a mile there and a mile back to fell a tree" 

The tree was felled overnight in a 'deliberate act'
The tree was felled overnight in a 'deliberate act'. Picture: Alamy

"Why would you be that disgruntled to free a tree that is a focal point on Hadrian's wall."

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On Thursday morning the national park authority said: "(We) can confirm that sadly, the famous tree at Sycamore Gap has come down over night. We have reason to believe it has been deliberately felled.

"We are working with the relevant agencies and partners with an interest in this iconic North East landmark and will issue more details once they are known."

The authority is asking the public not to visit the site, near Crag Lough, "whilst we work with our partners to identify what has happened and to make the site safe".

A spokesperson added: "Sycamore Gap was voted English Tree of the Year in 2016 in the Woodland Trust's awards and is much-loved by people from across the world."

The Sycamore Gap tree is probably the most photographed in the country and stands in a dramatic dip in Hadrian's Wall.

The Northumberland National Park Authority's website says the Roman Milecastle 39 is just to its left.

Sycamore Gap is looked after by both Northumberland National Park and the National Trust.

The news was met with dismay and outrage by walkers' groups on social media.

One woman, who visited the site on Thursday, posted a picture on Facebook of the felled tree with the caption: "An awful moment for all walking Hadrians wall the Sycamore Gap tree has gone! Not the storm an absolute f****** felled it!!"

Another user replied: "I am absolutely heartbroken as someone that is there often taking photos."

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: "We can confirm an investigation has been launched following damage to the Sycamore Gap Tree in Northumberland.

"Enquiries are ongoing to establish whether any criminal offences have been committed."