What is Sycamore Gap? A brief history of the world-famous Robin Hood tree

The Sycamore Gap tree was hailed as one of the most photographed in the country before it was felled. Credit: PA

Sycamore Gap is a spot on Hadrian's Wall in rural Northumberland where a single sycamore tree once stood in a dip in the hills.

Set in Northumberland National Park, it was hailed as one of the most photographed trees in the country and was held close to the hearts of the many who made the pilgrimage to see it.

But, on Thursday 28 September 2023, the world-famous 'Robin Hood tree' was found to have been felled overnight - sparking a public outcry.

Northumbria Police launched an investigation in response.

The tree has been the subject of many a dramatic image captured by both professionals and ameteurs. Credit: PA

The history of the tree

The Sycamore Gap tree itself is believed to date back to the .

It was excavated on two occasions, between 1908 and 1911 and again between 1982 and 1987, where Roman remains linked to Hadrian's Wall were found.

On the big screen

In 1991, Sycamore Gap provided a setting for the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which starred Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman and Alan Rickman.

Sycamore Gap provided a setting for the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1991. Credit: PA

Memory making and awards

Over the years, the Sycamore Gap tree became a popular hotspot for proposals, stargazers and walkers alike.

In 2016, it was named English Tree of the Year in the Woodland Trust’s awards.

The site has formed part of the designated UNESCO World Heritage Site at Hadrian's Wall since it was designated in 1987.

The beloved tree in Sycamore's Gap is one of the most photographed in the country. Credit: Viewer photos

What will happen to the tree?

A section of the tree is set to go on display at The Sill, nearby, before the first anniversary of the felling.

The National Trust, which owns the land where the tree stood, salvaged young twigs and seeds thrown to the ground when the tree was felled.

They were taken to a high-security greenhouse in Devon which guards genetic copies of some of the UK’s most valuable plants and trees.

It is also hoped a new tree could eventually grow from the fenced-off stump at the gap in Hadrian’s Wall.

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