One of the UK’s most photographed trees has been “deliberately felled” in an apparent act of vandalism.
A 16 year old teenager has been arrested for allegedly cutting down the Sycamore Gap tree next to the historic UNESCO World Heritage site Hadrian’s Wall, built 1,900 years ago to guard the furthest northwestern frontier of the Roman Empire.
The sycamore tree, located in the Northumberland National Park in northern England, has been standing for around 300 years and is the UK’s most photographed tree. The beloved landmark was made famous after it featured in the 1991 Kevin Costner film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
Authorities have said that it has been “deliberately felled” in an “act of vandalism.”
The Northumberland National Park authority confirmed that the famous tree at Sycamore Gap had come down overnight, Thursday 28 September.
"We are working with the relevant agencies and partners with an interest in this iconic North East landmark and will issue more details once they are known."
Superintendent Kevin Waring, of Northumbria Police, said: "This is a world-renowned landmark and the events of today have caused significant shock, sadness and anger throughout the local community and beyond. Given our investigation remains at a very early stage, we are keeping an open mind.”
The National Trust, which owns the land, said it was "shocked and saddened" by the felling of the tree, which was voted English Tree of the Year in 2016 in the Woodland Trust's awards.
Andrew Poad, general manager at the National Trust, said he was at a loss about who would have reason to chop the tree down: “It’s part of this area’s DNA, that’s what I’m struggling with. I can’t see the logic in what’s happened.”
The National Trust said it would be collecting seeds and taking cuttings from the tree. Poad said: “It’s a sycamore so the stump could try to regrow but of course it won’t be the same.”