12 October 2023

Benches and sculpture among suggestions for Sycamore Gap tree as removal starts

12 October 2023

Suggestions for the world-famous Sycamore Gap tree include making benches or a sculpture from the trunk, a National Trust manager has said.

The 50ft tree is to be removed from Hadrian’s Wall by crane on Thursday, two weeks after it was cut down in an apparent act of vandalism.

Andrew Poad, the site’s general manager for the National Trust, said the organisation was “maintaining an open mind” about what to do with the tree after its removal from the Roman wall.

Mr Poad told Sky News: “The tree, once it’s off the wall and it’s safe, it will then be removed from site, and then it’s going to be taken into safe storage which will then give us a pause for thought to work collaboratively with the local community and our partners to decide what we do with it after that.”

Asked about some of the thousands of suggestions made by members of the public, he said: “Simple things like benches and suchlike, you know, sculptures, but we’re maintaining an open mind at the minute.

“We’re hugely appreciative of all the suggestions we’ve had so far and we’re undoubtedly going to be asking for more in the future.”

Mr Poad said the National Trust, the Northumberland National Park Authority and Historic England had been working on a plan to remove the tree for a fortnight.

“We needed to find the safest way to get the tree off the wall – both safe for those that are doing the operation but, importantly, safe for the wall,” he said.

“The last thing we want to do is cause any more damage to the wall itself, so we’re involving a large crane which is on its way here as we speak.

“We did some preparatory work to the tree yesterday to enable that to happen and then once the crane gets here we can get set up and start to move it.”

The tree is too big to move in one piece but experts hope to move the trunk in large sections to keep options open for the future.

The stump, which could generate new shoots, will be left and is currently behind a protective barrier.

Seeds have been collected which the National Trust said could be used to propagate saplings.

The much-photographed and painted lone sycamore, an emblem for the north east of England, was situated in a dramatic dip in the Northumberland landscape.

Northumbria Police arrested a boy aged 16 and a man in his 60s after the tree was felled a fortnight ago. They have been released on bail pending further inquiries.

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