The iconic Sycamore Gap tree at Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, UK, was found felled earlier today. The tree was known affectionately as “Robin Hood’s Tree” and celebrated as one of the UK’s most photographed trees.
Authorities suspect that the tree was deliberately cut down overnight and police have launched an investigation into the incident. The local community and the nation mourn the loss of this beloved natural landmark which held a prominent place in the landscape.
The picturesque tree gained worldwide recognition for its appearance in the 1991 film “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.” It was voted Tree of the Year by the Woodland Trust in 2016. Standing in a natural dip in the landscape in Hexham, it had become an emblem of the North East, attracting visitors from far and wide.
Photographer Ian Sproat rushed to the scene upon hearing the news. He expressed his sadness to the BBC, saying, “My heart was ripped out.” He likened the felling of the tree to “cutting down the Tyne Bridge.”
The National Trust, which manages many of the UK’s natural treasures, reacted with shock and sadness, calling it an “act of vandalism.” General manager Andrew Poad emphasized the tree’s importance as an iconic feature that had graced the landscape for nearly two centuries. Northumbria Police are actively investigating the incident to determine if any criminal offenses were committed.
Northumberland National Park Authority, which oversees the area where the tree once stood, shared its belief that the tree had been deliberately felled. They are collaborating with relevant agencies and partners to investigate the incident and ensure the site’s safety. They have also requested that the public refrain from visiting the area during this time.
The loss of the Sycamore Gap tree will be particularly noted by landscape photographers, who used the tree as a prominent feature in numerous compositions. Just a few years ago New Zealand’s famous Wanaka tree was heavily vandalised with a saw. Fortunately the tree could be salvaged, that is not the case for the Sycamore tree, sadly.
[Via BBC News]
Cover Image: Tomorrow Never Knows, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons