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Our statement on the felling of the Sycamore Gap tree

The Sycamore Gap tree at Hadrian's Wall moved by crane on 12 October 2023, Northumberland, with landscape in the background
Moving the Sycamore Gap tree at Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland, by crane | © National Trust/Bec Hughes

For nearly 200 years, the iconic Sycamore Gap tree was an unmistakable landmark at Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort. We were shocked and saddened when it was felled on 27 September. We're inviting people to send us their memories of the tree and to support our work to plant trees and help nature in the Northumberland area.

After discovering the felled tree, our teams quickly gathered seeds and cuttings that specialist propagators at our Plant Conservation Centre are looking after. We're hopeful that we can use more than 30 per cent of these mature seeds and half of the cuttings for propagation, meaning that we may be able to grow strong saplings from the tree in the future.

If you'd like to support our Plant a Tree appeal, which will help plant trees and support nature in Northumberland, you can donate at the bottom of the page. New funds will be put towards creating new woodlands and restoring nature in Northumberland. In the new year, we'll launch a new fundraising appeal to go towards plans for the site and the tree.

We're working with the Northumberland National Park Authority, Historic England and Hadrian’s Wall Partnership to find the best way to honour the life of this much-loved tree. We'll announce further details of how local people and communities can get involved in the new year. Any donations received to date will be put towards the work done to commemorate the tree.

What we've done so far

We've carefully moved the tree from Hadrian's Wall and have stored it safely. This was a complex and difficult operation at a very sensitive site and we're grateful to everyone who has assisted with this work. We've retained the tree in large sections, which means we can keep all options open for the future. Moving the tree has helped preserve Hadrian's Wall, which is a 1,900-year-old monument, and made the site safe for visitors again.

We've also installed a temporary fence to protect the tree’s stump, which we hope will begin to sprout new shoots in time. It could take up to three years to know if this will be possible. We'd like to ask visitors to keep away from the trunk and take note of signage and the fence to help ensure maximum potential for new growth.

Because the site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Scheduled Ancient Monument, we must think through our plans carefully.

We're working with partners to understand the opportunities and restrictions of developing a commemorative response at the Sycamore Gap site, which will require careful consideration due to its designations as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Scheduled Ancient Monument.

A quote by Andrew Poad General Manager at Hadrian’s Wall and Housesteads Fort

Share your ideas, photos and stories

We're inviting everyone who wishes to share their memories of the tree to email their stories and photos to These will add to hundreds of messages and memories people have already shared in a temporary reflection space at The Sill. In the aftermath of the felling, the team opened this space in the Northumberland National Park Authority’s visitor hub close to where the tree stood.

Andrew Poad, General Manager at Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort, says: 'Any photos and memories we receive will be used to help inform our next steps for honouring the tree and aid the ambition of creating 3D imaging of the tree.'

Thank you to everyone who has already sent in suggestions for how we can remember the sycamore. So far, we've had over 2,000 ideas, with some of the most popular suggestions being to create a commemorative artwork and to plant more trees to benefit nature. If you'd like to get in touch with ideas for the future of the site and the tree, please email us. We kindly ask people to please bear with us while we consider what might be possible.

Commemorating the Sycamore Gap tree

This iconic sycamore tree was planted in the late 1800s by the previous landowner, John Clayton, to be a feature of the landscape. The land and the tree came into our care in the 1940s.

The tree found fame when it was featured in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1991 and was also awarded the English Tree of the Year award by the Woodland Trust in 2016.

A ranger crouching down in a field to check on some of the 100,000 trees planted on the Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

Help plant more trees

For only £5, you could help to plant a tree that will support life for years to come. New Plant a Tree funds will go towards restoring woodlands and nature in Northumberland.

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