Everything that has happened in the six months since the Sycamore Gap tree was felled

The iconic Sycamore Gap tree is believed to have been felled during the night on Wednesday 27 September. Credit: LDRS

Six months on since the famous Sycamore Gap tree is believed to have been deliberately felled, ITV Tyne Tees looks back at what has happened since.

What happened to the tree?

The landmark Sycamore Gap tree is believed to have been felled during the night of Wednesday 27 September.

It was found early the next day, and Northumbria Police launched an investigation.

What is Sycamore Gap?

Sycamore Gap is the name of a site along Hadrian's Wall in rural Northumberland where the single sycamore tree once stood in a dip between the hills.

The tree itself is believed to have dated back to medieval times. 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.

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

The tree at Sycamore Gap was cut down in September last year. Credit: PA

What was the response to its felling?

The tree on Hadrian's Wall in rural Northumberland, was one of the most photographed in the country, and news of its felling caused a public outcry.

Over the years, the location of the tree became personal to many people, becoming a hotspot for proposals, stargazers and walkers alike. Hundreds got in touch with ITV Tyne Tees to share their memories of the site over the years.

People around the world also reacted to the news, with the hashtag #SycamoreGap trending across multiple social media platforms as people shared their pictures and memories.

In 2016, it was named England Tree of the Year in the Woodland Trust’s awards, and the site has formed part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Hadrian's Wall since it was designated in 1987.

Within hours of its felling, the once iconic tree had been renamed Sycamore Stump on some online sites.

Police have carefully examined the stump. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA

What is the latest in the investigation?

The force confirmed on 14 March 2024 that the probe into the suspected deliberate act of vandalism was continuing, as two suspects arrested on suspicion of criminal damage had their bail extended.

A 16-year-old boy and a man in his 60s, who were arrested soon after the incident, have been told they will face no further police action.

Northumbria Police’s Neighbourhood Inspector for the Tynedale area, Inspector Kate Benson, gave a cautious update as she faced questions from councillors on policing in the area.

Cllr John Riddle, Conservative councillor for the Bellingham ward on Northumberland County Council, asked: “A lot of resources were put into the Sycamore Gap felling. Are you confident about getting a result there?”

Insp Benson replied: “The investigation is ongoing. I’m hoping we can have answer to that soon. That is the best way I can answer that at the moment.”

Investigations are continuing into the felling of Sycamore Gap. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

What is happening to the tree?

A section of the tree is set to go on display at The Sill in Northumberland National Park before the anniversary of the felling. Furthermore, 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 in turn 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 that a new tree could eventually grow from the fenced-off stump at the gap in Hadrian’s Wall.

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