Arrest made after locals left devastated by 'maliciously' cutting down of one of UK's most iconic trees

Sycamore Gap cut down

The Sycamore Gap, one of the most photographed trees in the world, was chopped down overnight

Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 28/09/2023

- 14:28

Updated: 28/09/2023

- 20:58

The Sycamore Gap is one of the UK's most photographed trees

A 16-year-old boy has been arrested after a famous tree next to Hadrian’s Wall was cut down.

The world-famous tree which sat next to the iconic monument in Northumberland was cut down in a “malicious act of vandalism”, that sparked outrage from nature lovers across the UK.

The Sycamore Gap – which is believed to have been deliberately chopped down last night - is one of the UK’s most photographed trees.

Northumberland National Park Authority officials believe that the tree was “deliberately felled” and urged people to stay away from the fallen landmark.

Northumbria Police say a 16-year-old boy has now been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.

Sycamore Tree

Locals and nature lovers are outraged at the felling


In a statement, 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.

“An investigation was immediately launched following this vandalism, and this afternoon we have arrested one suspect in connection with our enquiries."

Nature lovers and locals were left devastated by the tree's felling.

Photographer Ian Sproat said his “heart was ripped out” when he saw the damage.

Alison Hawkins, who was one of the first people to see the fallen tree, took to social media to express her outrage: “An awful moment for all walking Hadrians wall the Sycamore Gap tree has gone! Not the storm an absolute ******* felled it!!”

Hawkins had been walking along Hadrian’s Wall and noticed the fallen landmark on her fourth day hiking.

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.”


The tree was featured in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman, and was known as Robin Hood’s Tree.

It was also awarded Tree of the Year in 2016.

“They have just destroyed a part of the North East,” Sproat said.

“It's like cutting down the Tyne Bridge or the Swing Bridge - it's just as monumental.

“It's a living thing. I keep asking myself, 'Why would anyone do this?”

Sycamore Gap at night

The tree was one of the UK's most photographed tree


A Northumberland National Park Authority spokesman said: ”Northumberland National Park Authority can confirm that sadly, the famous tree at Sycamore Gap has come down overnight. 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.”

Northumbria Police said it was investigating whether any criminal offences had been committed.

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