‘New future’ on the cards for Sycamore Gap Tree as specialists reveal ‘positive signs of life’ after felling

6 December 2023, 14:06

Specialists have revealed the tree's cuttings have shown positive signs of life.
Specialists have revealed the tree's cuttings have shown positive signs of life. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

The iconic Sycamore Gap tree could ‘live on’ as the National Trust has reported signs of life from its cuttings.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Cuttings and salvaged seeds from the tree are showing positive signs of new growth, it has been said.

Rare plant specialists have been working to propagate material taken from the iconic Sycamore Gap tree after it was felled in September.

The tree at Sycamore Gap, next to Hadrian's Wall, was made famous by actor Kevin Costner when it appeared in his 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.

The unexpected felling of the tree led to national outcry over what was described as an act of vandalism.

Hadrian’s Wall was damaged as a result of the felling, Historic England said.

Historic England carried out an archaeological appraisal of the World Heritage Site and evaluated a series of cracks and fragments that had broken off from the structure.

While plants do not grow from seeds and cuttings around this time of year, the National Trust has said it has seen positive signs in the cuttings taken from the tree.

“After discovering the felled tree, our teams were quickly on the scene to collect material that would enable us to propagate from the tree,” Andy Jasper, director of gardens and Parklands at the National Trust, said.

“This work is taking place in our specialist rare plant propagation nursery and although this wasn’t really the right time of year to do this work, we are encouraged by positive signs of life, and are hopeful that over 30% of the mature seeds and half of the cuttings will be viable, which means we can hopefully grow new descendants from the tree in the future.

Read more: Woman dies in 'industrial incident' at Co-op funeral parlour as probe launched

Read more: Pictured: Newlywed US editor killed by a shark in front of her husband on the first day of their honeymoon

The tree was felled overnight in September, leading to national outcry.
The tree was felled overnight in September, leading to national outcry. Picture: Alamy

“Over the next year, we’ll be doing all we can to nurture the seeds and cuttings, in the hope that some will grow into strong, sturdy saplings – providing a new future for this much-loved tree.”

The National Trust said it hopes that more than 30% of the mature seeds and half of the cuttings will be viable, generating hope the tree will ‘live on’.

Mr Jasper also added they have hope the original trunk will regrow, but added this could take up to three years before they know for sure.

“We are also hoping that the trunk of the original tree will regrow, but it could take up to three years before we know if this is possible,” he added.

“As with many things in landscape restoration, we need to be patient and take the time to let nature do its thing.”

Four were arrested after the incident in September, and three men remain on police bail on suspicion of criminal damage as police continue to investigate.

A teenage boy who was originally arrested in connection with the felling will no longer face any action.

Andrew Poad, general manager of the historic site said: “We’re incredibly grateful for the many commemorative ideas we’ve received since the tree was felled.

“The creativity and thought behind some of these ideas has been inspiring and is an indication of just how important this tree was for so many people.”

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

England fans celebrate at the BOXPark Wembley

England fans pack out pubs and sneak out of work early to cheer on three lions ahead of crunch Euros clash

When Putin met Kim: Leaders cement alliance with limo drive, concert and pony stroking outing

When Putin met Kim: Leaders cement alliance with limo drive, concert and pony stroking outing

Exclusive
Smash and Wings owner Haroon is unhappy at being threatened to make the change

Family restaurant threatened with legal action by US giant if it doesn't change name to avoid 'copyright breach'

An intruder has been on the roof of Sacred Heart High School for three days.

London girls school closed for three days due to 'our intruder' on roof as police say situation still ongoing

Farah El Kadhi

Influencer Farah El Kadhi dies aged 36 after 'suffering heart attack on yacht holiday in Malta'

Sir Ian McKellen will not re-appear in West End play as veteran actor, 85, gives health update after falling from stage

Sir Ian McKellen will not re-appear in West End play as veteran actor, 85, gives health update after falling from stage

Jay Slater's family have warned people about donating to fake pages

Last person to speak to missing Jay Slater claims he has been kidnapped and ‘something sinister is going on’

Travis Scott

Travis Scott arrested for 'disorderly intoxication and trespassing'

Serbia threatens to quit Euros over Croatia and Albania fans' 'kill the Serbs' chanting - throwing England's group into chaos

Serbia threatens to quit Euros over Croatia and Albania fans' 'kill the Serbs' chants - throwing England's group into chaos

Nigel Farage described Just Stop Oil's latest stunt as 'appalling'

'Akin to domestic terrorism': Farage slams Just Stop Oil's latest 'appalling' stunts after Taylor Swift's jet targeted

Exclusive
Jennifer Kowalski and Cole Macdonald broke into the airfield with the aim of targeting Taylor Swift's jet. Kowalski is a Taylor Swift fan

Revealed: Eco-activists who targeted Taylor Swift's jet unmasked as ex-civil servant and Palestine protester

Jay Slater's family have warned people about donating to fake pages

Jay Slater, missing Brit in Tenerife, rang friend to say he'd 'cut his leg on cactus' and 'didn't know where he was'

Sir Ian McKellen is recuperating following a fall from the stage

Sir Ian McKellen to miss remainder of Player Kings’ London dates following fall

The Bank of England has given its latest updates on interest rates.

Blow for borrowers as Bank of England holds interest rates again at 5.25%

Two protesters bailed after Stonehenge sprayed with orange paint

Two eco-activists bailed after Stonehenge sprayed with orange paint as bosses say 'no visible damage' to monument

German police

'Isis terrorist sleeper agent' arrested in Germany near Euro 2024 host city