One Month since its Demise, we Investigate the History of the Sycamore Gap Tree

The Sycamore Gap Tree, which was also known as the Robin Hood Tree, was a sycamore tree standing next to Hadrian’s Wall near Crag Lough in Northumberland, England.  It was visible from the B6318 Military Road.  Interestingly the name “Sycamore Gap” was introduced by a National Trust employee when the area was being mapped by the Ordnance Survey to describe its location.

Standing in a dramatic dip in the landscape, it was one of the most photographed and famous trees in the country. The tree was featured in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, from which it gained its alternative name.  In reality, it was 170 miles from Sherwood Forest.  It has also featured on TV shows including Vera and various documentaries.

In 2016 the tree won the England Tree of the Year award in the Woodland Trust’s Awards. The tree was a sycamore (acer pseudoplatanus) tree. Its location, with the historic wall and the hills as a backdrop, has made it a popular and iconic feature for the Northeast of England.

The Tree’s Origins and Demise

The Sycamore was planted in the late 19th century by John Clayton, a lawyer and the previous landowner.  He was a keen excavator of Hadrian’s Wall.  Over a period of 50 years, he worked to enhance the understanding of the construction of Hadrian’s Wall, as he was worried that it was being destroyed by people taking parts of the wall away to build other structures.   From a wealthy family background, John owned five forts and about 20 miles of Hadrian’s Wall, ensuring they were under his protection.

The site was excavated between 1908 and 1911 and then also between 1982 and 1987. Located in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the land and tree came into the care of the National Trust in the 1940s and is supported by the Northumberland National Park Authority.

It was felled in the early morning of 28 September 2023 in “an act of vandalism” which caused national outrage. In actual fact the Director of Robin Hood also expressed his views, calling the act “ugly”, “despicable” and “senseless” in a BBC article.

The Tree’s Future

The National Trust have since removed the trunk after workers cut off some of its branches using chainsaws.  Due to its size, specialists had to cut it into large pieces and use a crane.   It will now be stored in an undisclosed location before its fate is decided, and it is hoped the public can have a say.

Already, seeds from the tree have been collected and are being looked after by the National Trust’s specialist propagators at its Plant Conservation Centre.

Temporary fencing has been put in place to protect the stump, which could “begin to sprout new shoots in time”.  The National Trust has advised people to “treat the stump with respect” as it considers its future, and it has encouraged people to share their ideas.

If you’d like to get in touch with suggestions for the future of the site and the tree, the National Trust has invited people to get in touch by emailing them at sycamoregap@nationaltrust.org.uk.

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I thought the Artemis team were absolutely brilliant. From coming to quote , prompt , and cutting back 2 oak trees they did a highly Professional and excellent job.... I thought the Artemis team were absolutely brilliant. From coming to quote , prompt , and cutting back 2 oak trees they did a highly Professional and excellent job.

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Thank you Artemis for your excellent tree surgery work as part of ongoing maintenance over many years. The garden poses problems, but as ever the team were cheerful, efficient and everything was carri... Thank you Artemis for your excellent tree surgery work as part of ongoing maintenance over many years. The garden poses problems, but as ever the team were cheerful, efficient and everything was carried out exactly as planned. I shall continue to recommend Artemis.

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Green hill housing

we have had work done with them and they do a wonderful job, from start to finish everything was perfect again, not a leaf leaf left behind, workmen were polite and professional.... we have had work done with them and they do a wonderful job, from start to finish everything was perfect again, not a leaf leaf left behind, workmen were polite and professional.

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Jan

Artemis took down two lime trees who's roots had damaged the garage floor and were an inch away from the foundations of the house . The trees were in a very awkward place to get to but this didn't see... Artemis took down two lime trees who's roots had damaged the garage floor and were an inch away from the foundations of the house . The trees were in a very awkward place to get to but this didn't seem to trouble this highly competent team. The team were extremely well equipped , and they worked together like a well oiled machine. We were delighted with their work, tidiness and very pleasant manner. And it was at a fair price.

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Jonathan

Martin and Luke arrived on time They were polite and did the job to my total satisfaction and cleared up Took the time they said it would when they arrived Well done!... Martin and Luke arrived on time They were polite and did the job to my total satisfaction and cleared up Took the time they said it would when they arrived Well done!

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Phil

Very professional job. The man in charge was excellent. Did the job exactly as we wanted it. Would highly recommend....

3 months ago

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I have used Artemis a number of times and always feel confident that they offer an excellent service all the way through from the first visit to the final clearing up. They are knowledgeable, profess... I have used Artemis a number of times and always feel confident that they offer an excellent service all the way through from the first visit to the final clearing up. They are knowledgeable, professional and friendly. They do great job and I would highly recommend.

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This was the first time we have used Artemis, and the whole process from initial enquiry through to completion was very easy. We would definitely recommend their services, and will be using them again... This was the first time we have used Artemis, and the whole process from initial enquiry through to completion was very easy. We would definitely recommend their services, and will be using them again I'm sure.

4 months ago

Natasha

Fantastic service from your team at Artemis. We needed a tree in our garden heavily crowned, having let it grow far too tall. We couldn’t be happier with the work done; the team were so professional, ... Fantastic service from your team at Artemis. We needed a tree in our garden heavily crowned, having let it grow far too tall. We couldn’t be happier with the work done; the team were so professional, really lovely and left our garden tidier than it was before they arrived. We won’t hesitate to recommend Artemis to anyone needing tree work done

5 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent service from first quote to final job. Very good communications and reminders so I knew exactly when they were arriving. Polite and hard working team who cleared up perfectly. Would definite... Excellent service from first quote to final job. Very good communications and reminders so I knew exactly when they were arriving. Polite and hard working team who cleared up perfectly. Would definitely recommend.

5 months ago

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Efficient and effective service. On site team were polite and ensured the site was left clean and tidy....

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Excellent service. Punctual and extremely professional manner in which they carry out their work. Really happy with the work done . Would definitely use the company again.... Excellent service. Punctual and extremely professional manner in which they carry out their work. Really happy with the work done . Would definitely use the company again.

5 months ago

Terry

We have been using Artemis Tree Services for many years now and have just had our annual tree and shrub maintenance visit. Wonderful job as usual. The garden now looks great thanks to a very hard work... We have been using Artemis Tree Services for many years now and have just had our annual tree and shrub maintenance visit. Wonderful job as usual. The garden now looks great thanks to a very hard working and knowledgable team. Thanks again, see you next year.

6 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent service from start to finish. Clear quotes, no jargon, prompt responses to queries and arrived on time. A large tree was expertly removed and recycled. The very professional and pleasant tea... Excellent service from start to finish. Clear quotes, no jargon, prompt responses to queries and arrived on time. A large tree was expertly removed and recycled. The very professional and pleasant team even removed the leaves from the lawn. Thoroughly recommend! Very reasonable pricing also. No hidden extras.

6 months ago

David Lynn

The team arrived on time, carried out all the requested work and left our garden neat and tidy. The tree work was as planned , we are very pleased and would recommend the company with no hesitation.... The team arrived on time, carried out all the requested work and left our garden neat and tidy. The tree work was as planned , we are very pleased and would recommend the company with no hesitation.

7 months ago