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Two men charged with cutting down famous 150-year-old tree near Hadrian’s Wall

A beautiful view of the stars above Sycamore Gap prior to the Perseid Meteor Shower above Hadrian's Wall near Bardon Mill, England, August 2015.
A beautiful view of the stars above Sycamore Gap prior to the Perseid Meteor Shower above Hadrian's Wall near Bardon Mill, England, August 2015. Copyright AP Photo/Scott Heppell
Copyright AP Photo/Scott Heppell
By Euronews Green with AP
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The National Trust has said it will take up to three years to see if new growth sprouts from the sycamore's stump.

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The felling of the Sycamore Gap tree along Hadrian’s Wall in northern England last year caused an outpouring of grief and outrage in the UK and beyond.

Now two men have been charged with cutting down the beloved 150-year-old tree, prosecutors said on Tuesday (30 April).

Daniel Graham, 38, and Adam Carruthers, 31, were charged with causing criminal damage and damaging the wall built in A.D. 122 by Emperor Hadrian to guard the northwest frontier of the Roman Empire.

They were ordered to appear in Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on 15 May.

Why was the Sycamore Gap tree so popular?

The sycamore's majestic canopy between two hills made it a popular subject for landscape photographers.

It became a destination on the path along the wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, after being featured in Kevin Costner’s 1991 film “Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves."

The nighttime felling caused widespread outrage as police tried to find the culprits behind what they called a deliberate act of vandalism.

Northumbria Police Superintendent Kevin Waring called it “an incredibly sad day” when the tree was found.

A hiker who was among the first people to see it lying on the ground expressed shock.

“It’s basically the iconic picture that everyone wants to see,” Alison Hawkins said at the time. “You can forgive nature doing it, but you can’t forgive that.”

Will the Sycamore Gap tree be replaced?

Graham and Carruthers were arrested in October and released on bail. It took authorities more than six months to bring charges against them.

Det. Chief Inspector Rebecca Fenney said she recognised “the strength of feeling in the local community and further afield” but cautioned people against speculation or comment that could affect the criminal case.

The National Trust, which owns the land where the tree stood, said it will take up to three years to see if new growth sprouts from the sycamore's stump.

The trust removed the tree and was hopeful that about a third of the seeds and cuttings it collected could later be planted.

“I grieve deeply for that tree,” writer Rob Cowen wrote in an opinion piece for The Guardian newspaper in October. 

“But I also grieve for whoever set out last Wednesday into that storm with a chainsaw, because we have failed them just as surely as we have failed nature.”

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