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Home ยป Sycamore Gap Tree At Hadrian’s Wall ‘felled Overnight’

Sycamore Gap Tree At Hadrian’s Wall ‘felled Overnight’

Image source, PA Media

Image caption, The tree in Sycamore Gap was found cut down on Thursday morning

By Samantha Jagger

BBC News

Police are investigating the deliberate felling of one of the UK’s most iconic trees, which appears to have been cut down in an act of vandalism.

The large tree at Sycamore Gap, next to Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, was apparently cut down overnight.

Northumberland National Park Authority officials believe the tree, known as Robin Hood’s Tree, was “deliberately felled” and asked people to stay away.

Photographer Ian Sproat said his “heart was ripped out” when he saw the damage.

Image source, NAtional Trust / John Millar

Image caption, The Sycamore Gap featured alongside Kevin Costner in the film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves

The tree, which featured in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, grew in a natural dip in the landscape near Hexham and was awarded Tree of the Year in 2016.

Mr Sproat said he “drove straight over” from North Shields when he found out it had been toppled.

“I was gobsmacked, anger set in and now sadness,” he said.

“My heart was ripped out.”

“They have just destroyed a part of the North East,” the 42-year-old continued.

“It’s like cutting down the Tyne Bridge or the Swing Bridge – it’s just as monumental

“It’s a living thing. I keep asking myself, ‘why would anyone do this?’.”

Image source, IAN SPROAT

Image caption, Hexham MP Guy Opperman said the damage was “unquestionably a criminal act”

The National Trust said it was “shocked and saddened” to learn about what “appears to be an act of vandalism”.

General manager Andrew Poad said the sycamore had been “an important and iconic feature in the landscape for nearly 200 years”.

Northumbria Police said it was investigating whether any criminal offences had been committed.

Image source, PA Media

Image caption, Northumbria Police said they were investigating what had happened

Hexham MP Guy Opperman said everyone he had spoken with was “utterly stunned” and “devastated” at the damage.

He described the sycamore as a symbol of the North East that was “revered and loved across the world”.

Conservative MP Mr Opperman said it was “unquestionably a criminal act”, but added that “even if police did catch the perpetrator, the tree is still gone”.

Image source, Wil Photography

Image caption, The Sycamore Gap made the perfect backdrop for many photographers

Anna Charlton, who runs a tourist business within Northumberland National Park, described the tree as “an emblem”.

“I’m weeping. This isn’t just vandalism, it’s an attack on nature,” she said.

“It’s a terrible, terrible day for the North East. I’m devastated.”

Image source, IAN SPROAT

Image caption, The National Trust said it was “shocked and saddened” after the tree was cut down overnight

The tree was not just a beloved landmark, but held a special place in the hearts of many.

People have been known to leave decorated memorial pebbles by the tree.

“Those memories, belonging to generations of people, have now been destroyed,” Mr Sproat said.

Image source, IAN SPROAT

Image caption, People have been known to leave memorial pebbles by the site of the tree

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said she was “incandescent that this looks like a deliberate act of vandalism”.

“I’m devastated that the famous sycamore is gone. It was an iconic North East landmark standing tall in our beautiful Northumberland,” she added.

At the scene

By BBC Look North correspondent Mark Denten

After a 20-minute walk from the nearest car park, Sycamore Gap has always surprised visitors. You come over the brow of the hill and there it is.

But today, the surprise for visitors was different.

One of the most iconic trees in Britain, and probably the world, was found felled.

One man visiting from London told me he’d come up just to see it. He couldn’t find the words to express his shock.

A professional photographer who captured it hundreds of times told me he felt grief for part of his life.

“I proposed to my wife here,” he told me.

And in this most beautiful of locations, a crime scene police tape now surrounds the fallen tree as police investigate who did this.

Supt Kevin Waring said there was “shock and anger” from people.

He described it as “incredibly sad day” and said the force would “consider every tactic at our disposal” to find out the full circumstances.

Northumberland National Park Authority said it “had reason to believe” the “iconic North East landmark” had been “deliberately felled”.

It added it was working with agencies to make the site safe.

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