A pub is offering £1,500 bar tab to anyone who can help crack the case of who mysteriously chopped the beloved Sycamore Gap tree, in what appears to be a shocking act of vandalism.
Speculation has been swirling as to why the famous landmark, which appeared in Kevin Costner’s 1991 film Robin Hood: The Prince of Thieves, was destroyed over night on Wednesday.
Some theorised the 300-year-old sycamore had been chopped down by ‘a professional who knew where they were going to cut’, perhaps using a torch to complete the job in the dark.
Others suggested an accomplice would be needed to help with the chainsaw or provide light – but police are yet to confirm how many were involved in the hacking of the beloved tree, located next to Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland.
Last night, Andrew Poad, general manager of National Trust for Hadrian’s Wall, said the fact the tree appeared to have been marked with white paint showed ‘this wasn’t a spontaneous thing’.
‘I think it probably would have been done in about half an hour. You can see they have marked where they wanted it cut,’ he told The Times. ‘So this wasn’t a spontaneous thing.
‘It would have been done in the night when nobody could hear the sound of a chainsaw because of the wind. But we just don’t know.’
Northumbria Police confirmed a 16-year-old boy had been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage and was in police custody.
Following this on X, formerly Twitter, user said: ‘No way could a 16-year-old wimpy kid do that on his own. I smell a rat.’ While another user questioned: ‘What’s the motive – I can’t fathom it?’
Now in a bid to help the police solve the mystery, Twice Brewed Inn – a stone’s throw away from the landmark that has now been dubbed ‘Sycamore stump’ – have offered a reward for anyone who can help provide information to the police.
Sycamore Gap or Robin Hood Tree standing next to Hadrian’s Wall
Only a stump is left in the spot the Sycamore Gap tree once proudly stood
Twice Brewed Inn – a stone’s throw away from the landmark that has now been dubbed ‘Sycamore stump’ – have offered a reward for anyone who can help provide information to the police
Writing on Facebook, the pub said: ‘Everyone at The Twice Brewed Inn is devastated by the senseless felling of the beloved Sycamore Gap tree.
‘This iconic landmark is woven throughout The Twice Brewed – from our logo to our sister Brewery’s award-winning ale – and we are truly appalled by its destruction.
‘We are offering a £1,500 bar tab as a reward to the person who provides information to Northumbria Police that leads to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for destroying such a precious beacon of natural beauty on Hadrian’s Wall.’
The pub has also created a fundraising page to ‘celebrate the legacy of the Sycamore Gap’ as a project of ‘resilience and unity, just like the tree itself’.
Donations, which have already reached £1,370 at time of writing, will be used to support future projects that take place at the site and work carried out by the National Park.
‘We envision the creation of a lasting memorial—a place where future generations can come to learn about the tree’s history, it’s significance to our community, and the importance of preserving our natural treasures,’ the post read.
‘A space where people can gather, reflect, and reconnect with nature—a place that embodies the spirit of our beloved tree.’
Yesterday morning, park rangers and walkers were left horrified when they found the historic tree slumped on its side over the famous wall. It had been left with its upper section lying across the historic Roman barrier.
Some have suggested the tree was felled by a ‘professional’
Part of the tree appears to have been marked with white paint, indicating that someone may have felled it with a chainsaw
Walkers and locals said it was ‘unforgiveable’ if the tree was deliberately vandalised
The Sycamore Gap was voted English Tree of the Year in 2016
People look at the tree at Sycamore Gap next to Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland today
The tree stood in a remote rural location about 250ft away from the Hadrian’s Wall footpath and 1,800ft as the crow flies to the nearest road, the B6318.
Upon investigating the scene, police officers said they thought the damage was a deliberate act of vandalism and said ‘anyone found to be responsible can expect to be dealt with swiftly and appropriately’.
Walkers noticed that part of the tree appeared to have been marked with white paint suggesting someone may have felled it using a chainsaw.
People have been told to avoid the area while the police investigation continues.
As word spread, theories started to emerge about how the tree came to harm.
Some said it must have been done by a ‘professional’ with the park authority believing it had been deliberately chopped down.
Alison Hawkins, who lives in Liverpool, was one of the first people on the scene this morning, posting a picture on Facebook with the caption: ‘An awful moment for all walking Hadrian’s Wall. The Sycamore Gap tree has gone! Not the storm an absolute ******* felled it!!’
Ms Hawkins, who was on her fourth day of walking Hadrian’s Wall, said she was ‘tearful’ when she discovered the tree had been cut down.
She said: ‘At first we thought it was because of the storm but then we saw a national park ranger.
‘He said it had been cut down and there was paint around the cut section, so it was a professional who knew where they were going to cut.
‘It was a proper shock. It’s basically the iconic picture that everyone wants to see. You can forgive nature doing it but you can’t forgive that.’
A Northumberland National Park Authority spokesman said: ‘Northumberland National Park Authority can confirm that sadly, the famous tree at Sycamore Gap has come down over night. We have reason to believe it has been deliberately felled.
‘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.’
They added: ‘It is not clear currently whether the tree is a victim of Storm Agnes or it is a deliberate act – though pictures indicate a clean and straight cut.’
Matt Brown, 37, of the Twice Brewed Brew Company nearby, was one of the first at the scene.
Mr Brown said: ‘I was brewing when I heard a rumour that the tree at Sycamore Gap had been cut down and ran over to see what had happened.
‘It was a quite a shock to see it lying there, that tree is a real icon and to those of us who were born in this area it really means something.
‘It was certainly cut down with a chainsaw – and a big one. It looks as though it has been cut through with one stroke which means the blade must have been about two metres long.
‘It was done overnight and seems to be a thought-out and planned act. But why anyone would choose to do such a thing is beyond me.
‘There can’t be anyone with such an issue against that particular tree that they walk a mile at night to go and saw it down, it’s an act of malice but can only be for malice’s sake.
‘The tree can be seen from the old military road that passes by but to access it you have to climb over barbed wire and walk through marshy ground for a mile.
‘I noticed also that the trunk had been marked at the spot where the cut was going to be made.
The iconic tree, which is believed to be 300 years old, was this morning found cut down
The mayor for North Tyne and Metro, Jamie Driscoll, visited the devastation and said: ‘This tree is iconic. You can see love stones on the floor where people in the past have proposed to their partners
A Northumberland National Park Authority spokesman said: ‘Northumberland National Park Authority can confirm that sadly, the famous tree at Sycamore Gap has come down over night. We have reason to believe it has been deliberately felled’
Over the decades the iconic view has become the backdrop for countless marriage proposals
Many families and their pets have treasured memories of visiting the Sycamore Gap tree
‘This is someone who knows how to fell trees and made sure it toppled in the right direction, but it’s hard to fathom why anyone would do this.
‘I was speaking to a Canadian lady only yesterday who had come to this spot specifically to see the Sycamore Gap tree. It is an icon and something particularly special to the brewery.
‘Our signature ale is called Sycamore Gap and the tree is our logo. It’s genuinely hard to believe that this has happened.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said: ‘Northumbria Police have acted fast, showing their dedication to the region and now a 16-year-old male is in custody.
‘This senseless crime has forever damaged an icon in the North East.
‘I think we all as a region feel shocked at what has happened. Sycamore Gap was a place of happy and moving memories for millions of people, and a symbol of home for people around the world.
‘It’s important now that we let justice that its course, and my thanks are with our hardworking police officers for their actions today.’
For decades the tree, which was voted the English Tree of the Year in 2016, has served as the backdrop for countless marriage proposals, childhood walks and a place to scattered loved ones ashes.
The destruction of the tree led to an outpouring of grief from Britons, many of whom were heartbroken by the news.
Amongst the outcries was Si King from the Harry Bikers, who accused the person responsible of ‘murder(ing) a sentinel of time and a sentimental spirit of Northumberland’.
The Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland, featured in the 1991 blockbuster film ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves’ (pictured) starring Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman
Laura Cruise (pictured), who’s a life coach, said it was ‘incredibly sad’ that somebody would destroy something so beautiful
A couple who spent their honeymoon visiting the landmark four years ago said in an Instagram post that they hoped the person who did it was found
Mr King took to X, formally known as Twitter, posting a video about the tree. He said: ‘Hello everyone, I’ve just been made aware that we’ve lost the sycamore at Sycamore Gap, somebody has felled it apparently.
‘Well I hope whoever’s done that has a conscience because you have just murdered a sentinel of time and a sentimental spirit of Northumberland and I hope you feel really good about yourself for whatever warped reason you’ve done it.
‘It’s shocking, I am beyond words.’
There has been outpouring of grief for the historic tree today, as word spread of its downfall.
Heather Sutherland wrote: ‘I am grieving all over again. I scattered my brother’s ashes here. This was our place. This was a place in which I found calm and solace, my grounding and orientation.
‘This place means everything to me. This is more than upsetting right now.’
Kay Dover told MailOnline the Sycamore Gap was her ‘favourite place’ to take her family and their to Springer Spaniels to.
She added: ‘It is [and] was a magical place. I’m absolutely devastated that some silly, mindless idiot has chopped it down.
‘Who knew that a tree being felled would cause so much heartache and sorrow.’
The mayor for North Tyne and Metro, Jamie Driscoll, visited the devastation and said: ‘This tree is iconic. You can see love stones on the floor where people in the past have proposed to their partners.
An undated picture of the tree at Sycamore Gap, at Hadrian’s Wall near Crag Lough, Northumberland, with the Northern Lights
The Sycamore Gap tree was a popular spot for photographers
‘Other people have had their ashes scattered here. This is part of our culture. I have family in North America and when they come across we take them here.
‘This is not a tree cut down. This is an insult to the people of Northumberland. If you look at the damage, you realise it is someone with a 28-inch chainsaw who knew what they’re doing.
‘I’ve had lots of messages from people who are upset about it. I’m normally a measured man but I’m very angry about this.
‘I’ve heard people are in tears. It’s a really special place to the people from the surrounding area.’
Mr Driscoll is now hoping the culprit will hand themselves in to the police.
‘It’s a really healthy tree and someone knows who did this,’ he added. ‘If they have any decency at all they should contact the police.
‘Hadrian’s Wall has been here for coming up to 2,000 years so we will work together with the authorities to come up with something that is fitting.’
Laura Cruise, a life coach, said: ‘I think it is incredibly sad that somebody would want to destroy something so beautiful, that gave joy to so many people, for no good reason.’
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness also expressed her sadness, writing on X: ‘I’m devastated that the famous Sycamore is gone’
Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland, was made famous in the 1991 blockbuster film ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves’ starring Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman
Someone has already changed the google maps location to ‘Sycamore Stump’
Lady Eloise Sunley said: ‘This tree in Sycamore Gap is very special to me and my family and l am devastated that it’s been chopped down, as this has taken away everyones enjoyment for many years to come.
‘Not just ours but people who come to see it from all over the UK and world. Also the wildlife that comes with it at different seasons will have no where.
‘I hope that in time the culprit or culprits are made to pay for damages done to the National trust and people who have been to this special place have plenty of photos to cherish.’
Others have tried to combat the situation with humour and someone has already changed the google maps location to ‘Sycamore Stump’ – with some saying the edit was ‘too soon’.
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