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Next steps for the Sycamore Gap tree

A seed collected from the Sycamore Gap tree grows into a seedling at the National Plant Conservation Centre
A seed collected from the Sycamore Gap tree 'springing into life' at the National Trust's Plant Conservation Centre | © James Dobson

Together with our partners and the community, we're working on creating a legacy for the much-loved Sycamore Gap tree, an iconic landmark in the Northumberland landscape for nearly 200 years.

We were shocked and saddened when the famous Sycamore Gap Tree, at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Hadrian’s Wall and Housesteads Fort, was felled in an act of vandalism in September 2023.

We know we share these feelings with thousands, if not millions, of people around the world who felt a special connection with the tree and its landscape.

The Sycamore Gap tree was carefully moved from Hadrian's Wall and safely stored. The tree has been retained in large sections, which means we can keep options open as to what it becomes in future.

The response to the felling of the tree over the past month has been overwhelming, and we are grateful for the thousands of ideas, offers of help and tributes we've received. It is clear this tree was special to many, many people. Thank you to everyone who got in touch.

We are working with our partners, the Northumberland National Park Authority, Historic England and Hadrian’s Wall Partnership to agree what happens next, with a focus on ensuring that there is ‘hope for the future of nature’.

Sycamore Gap legacy

Over the last few months, the organisations have read each message, social media tribute, and on-site memorial received from the public. From these responses, three overarching themes on what the Sycamore Gap’s legacy should be, have emerged.

Building on these themes, the organisations have begun to create a series of initiatives designed to mark the legacy of the tree and engage communities at a local and national level.

Helping nature thrive

The organisations are looking to see how nature responds at the site. The original tree stump remains in situ, in the hope it will regrow in time. While we wait, there will not be another intervention at the site for now. To give the tree the best chance of regrowth, there is a need to protect the stump – without detracting from people’s experience of the site – and there is currently a low fence in place.

The theme of nature restoration and renewal came through strongly in the public’s response to the felling. The organisations are exploring new ways to support tree planting and habitat creation, with an initial focus on the Hadrian’s Wall landscape.

Providing a place for reflection

For many people, the Sycamore Gap played a significant part in their lives and the organisations involved are committed to ensuring people can continue to build personal connections with this special place.

The largest section of the felled tree will find a new home on public view at The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre, close to Sycamore Gap, and this will provide people with a lasting connection to the tree. This will be in place by September 2024 and Northumberland National Park Authority will be announcing a creative commission in the coming weeks which will be working with local schools and seeking the views of the public.

An event, shaped by local voices, is proposed to commemorate the anniversary of the felling of the tree in September. Ideas can be shared by email to

Working with artists

The organisations have been taking advice from specialists in woodwork and wood preservation. The felled tree was carefully cut into sections for removal from the site and since then, the timber has been treated and stored safely to ensure it can be repurposed in the future by artists, in collaboration with the public, including schools, community groups and individuals. A series of creative commissions will be announced over the coming months, and the public will again be asked to help shape these.

Seedlings spring into life

Our gardeners at the National Trust Plant Conservation Centre have been have been carefully looking after the seeds and material collected from the tree .

Experts have used a range of techniques to cultivate the material. These include ‘budding’, where a single bud from the original tree is attached to a rootstock of the same species, and two forms of grafting - ‘whip and tongue’ and ‘apical wedge’ grafting - where a scion (a cutting from the tree) and a rootstock are joined together by corresponding cuts in the material. These processes are designed to create genetically identical replicas of the original Sycamore Gap tree.

The seeds meanwhile have been grown on in a special peat-free compost mix, having first been washed and checked for any disease, with several dozen now sprouting.

While there's a long way to go before the tiny seedlings become saplings, these signs of life are also a symbol of hope for this special tree.


We are launching a fundraising appeal for donations to commemorate the Sycamore Gap tree, an iconic landmark in the Northumberland landscape for nearly 200 years.

We can’t directly replace this much-loved tree, but your donation will enable us to create a fitting tribute to sycamore gap by:-

  • Protecting and conserving this renowned World Heritage landscape for future generations
  • Restoring and enhancing our woodlands for people and nature in Northumberland, by planting new trees, woodland and hedgerows
  • Creating a fitting tribute to the Sycamore Gap Tree

Please consider donating to our work at Hadrian’s Wall. Working with Northumberland National Park, Historic England and Hadrian’s Wall Partnership, your donation will help support our ongoing nature conservation work in the area.