Iconic Sycamore Tree Illegally Cut Down: Hope for Regrowth

Historic Sycamore Tree Illegally Cut Down, But Experts Hope for New Growth

A centuries-old sycamore tree, celebrated as a “world landmark,” was illegally felled on September 28th in ‘Sycamore Gap,’ an area near Hadrian’s Wall in northern England. The tree, estimated to be around 300 years old, held special significance as it was named Tree of the Year in 2016 by the UK conservation organization Woodland Trust.

Authorities have confirmed that the tree was deliberately cut down using a chainsaw. However, there is hope that the sycamore may still have a chance at new life. Botanical experts suggest that sycamore stumps have the ability to sprout new shoots.

The National Trust, a British heritage conservation charity, is currently exploring methods to protect the remaining stumps so that they can potentially regrow next spring. Efforts will also be made to collect the seeds of the fallen tree.

Renowned photographer Ian Sproat, who captured the sycamore tree in a stunning backdrop of the Northern Lights, expressed his heartbreak over the incident. Sproat emphasized the resilience of the sycamore tree, stating, “In the next few decades, it may grow again. We need to do whatever we can to nurture its regrowth.”

The tree, also known as the “Robin Hood Tree,” gained fame by featuring in Hollywood films and attracting photographers from around the world. The picturesque location and the symmetry of the tree made it an ideal subject for nature enthusiasts.

Local residents and visitors are deeply saddened by the loss of this iconic tree, which held a special place in their hearts. The fallen tree was a site where people would remember their loved ones and scatter their ashes, further adding to the emotional impact of its destruction.

One resident, Kevin Bainbridge, shared his personal connection to the tree, as he had proposed to his wife under its shade, and the ashes of his family members were scattered there. Bainbridge expressed his disbelief and noted, “I thought it wouldn’t change over time. It’s in a historic site.”

Authorities have arrested a 16-year-old boy in connection with the intentional destruction of the tree. The incident has sparked outrage among locals and the wider community, who perceive it as a senseless act.

While the loss of this significant landmark is mourned by many, there remains a glimmer of hope for the sycamore’s revival. The determination to protect and nurture its potential regrowth reflects the profound impact the tree has had on people’s lives.
Andrew WebbBC World Service

4 hours ago

image copyrightIan Sproat

picture explanation,

Photographer Ian Sproat says he was ‘heartbroken’ after taking pictures of sycamore trees with the Northern Lights in the background

A sycamore tree described as a “world landmark” was illegally cut down on September 28 (local time), but there is a chance it will come back to life.

This tree, around 300 years old, stood in ‘Sycamore Gap’. Sycamore Pass is located in the area of ​​Hadrian’s Wall, an ancient Roman fortress in the north of England.

In 2016, it was chosen as Tree of the Year in a competition held by the British forest conservation organization ‘Woodland Trust’.

Officers said the tree was deliberately cut down with a chainsaw.

image copyrightGetty Images

picture explanation,

Police arrest a teenage boy on suspicion of illegally cutting down trees

A sycamore stem can sprout

However, plant experts believe that sycamore stumps can sprout new shoots.

The National Trust, a British heritage conservation charity, said they are considering ways to protect the stumps so they can grow again next spring. He added that efforts will be made to collect the seeds of this tree.

Photographer Ian Sprott photographed this tree against the backdrop of the natural phenomenon ‘Aurora’. Filming was repeated even as the seasons changed.

He told the BBC: “The sycamore tree is very resilient. In the next few decades it may grow again. Care is needed. We need to do whatever we can.”

“What makes this tree particularly beautiful is its symmetry. The trees are in the middle of the two hills, the night sky facing the North Sea, and the North Light behind them in proportion. It couldn’t be a more perfect backdrop for a photographer. “

image copyrightIan Sproat

picture explanation,

One of Ian Sproat’s first photos of this tree. He said: ‘I don’t think people will fully realize the impact of this incident.’

Sproat described how he felt when he heard about the felling.

“At first, I was angry, and then when I went up and saw the tree, I was really sad. It filled me with sadness. It was like a little sanctuary where people could escape reality and find peace of mind. now he’s gone.”

image copyrightTom Wright

picture explanation,

“It was perfect,” said Steve Upton of the Newcastle Area Hiking Group, “Photographers came from all over the world to see the view around the tree.”


The police arrested a 16-year-old boy, saying there was “intentional destruction”.

image copyrightMark Beadle

picture explanation,

‘It became a beacon of hope for everyone that it should grow in such a cold and open place,’ said Francesca Williams from the BBC

‘Robin Hood’s Tree’

This tree also appeared in Hollywood films and was a popular landmark in the north east of England.

It has been one of the most photographed trees in Britain since its appearance in the 1991 film ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ starring Kevin Costner and Alan Rickman, and has become known as the ‘Robin Hood Tree’.

image copyright Huw Evans photo agency

picture explanation,

Catherine Cape, one of the nearby residents, says, ‘Seeing trees growing in such a cold and unprotected place was like a beacon of hope for everyone.’

‘Senseless action’

Dan Newman plays Wolf, a young boy who hides in this sycamore tree and is rescued by Kevin Costner’s character.

Currently working as a personal trainer. “I shot that scene first on the first day of filming,” Newman said.

“It’s a beautiful and iconic sight, isn’t it?”

image copyrightTom Wright

picture explanation,

Steve Blair, who runs a pub in the nearby town of Hexham, says: “This tree was so iconic. People would sit on the hill and look at it for hours.”

“It has a huge impact. It’s not just the locals or the people who were originally interested.”

He added that cutting down the tree was a “senseless act.”

image copyright Francesca Williams

picture explanation,

“There’s a reason why this scene is iconic and therefore removed.”

Ian Sproat says the felling of this tree also caused further damage. People would remember their deceased family members near the tree and scatter the cremated remains of their loved ones.

However, “the tree was cut down and fell into the memorial site beyond the low wall.” “So a lot of people are very sad.”

image copyrightIAN SPROAT

picture explanation,

Catherine Cape remembered walking to the tree during the COVID-19 lockdown and said, ‘The tree was a great comfort to many people. My family wasn’t the only one who felt that way. ‘Many people say they find solace in trees’

‘A place where our ashes will be scattered’

The tree was also a “very special place” for local resident Kevin Bainbridge.

He proposed to his wife under the shade of a tree. The cremated remains of the family members were also scattered in the same place.

“We always said that if anything happened to us, under that tree our ashes would be scattered,” Bainbridge emphasized.

“I thought it wouldn’t change over time. It’s in a historic site.”

“There’s a reason why this scene is iconic and therefore removed.”

picture explanation,

A police cordon was placed around the fallen tree to investigate.

Ian Sproat sums up the mood felt by many visitors and social media:

“It was more than just a tree. It was almost like a shrine.”

Source: BBC North East, BBC Newsround

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