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Modern Mysteries

Mystery surrounds felling of historic Sycamore Gap tree in England

By T.K. Randall
October 2, 2023 · Comment icon 18 comments

The tree photographed back in 2008. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Chris Gunns
The tree, which had stood for centuries, was felled recently, leaving authorities to ponder who had done it and why.
For 300 years, the famous and much-loved tree - which stood at a gap in Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland National Park - was a staple of the English countryside.

It was also known as 'Robin Hood Tree' due to its appearance in the 1991 movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

At some point during the early hours of September 28th, however, someone ventured out and cut the historic tree down with a chainsaw in an apparent act of senseless vandalism that has sparked both an ongoing mystery and an extensive police investigation.

Little is known about the perpetrator other than that the felling seemed to have been pre-planned by someone who knew what they were doing because there was white paint on the tree where it was cut.
It has also been suggested that whoever it was had gone out on that particular night because the strong winds would have masked the sound of the chainsaw.

Whether they had an accomplice or acted alone remains unclear.

"Given our investigation remains at a very early stage, we are keeping an open mind," said Superintendent Kevin Waring.

"I am appealing to the public for information to assist us - if you have seen or heard anything suspicious that may be of interest to us, please let us know."

"Any information - no matter how small or insignificant you think it may be - could prove absolutely crucial to our inquiries."

Source: | Comments (18)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by pellinore 2 months ago
Latest theory is that it is a TikTok stunt. Police officers investigating the felling of the iconic Sycamore Gap tree are looking into claims the shocking act of vandalism was carried out as part of a TikTok stunt, it has been reported.  The new line on enquiry emerged after a man in his sixties was arrested last night in connection with the destruction of the Northumbrian landmark. Police investigate claims the beloved Sycamore Gap tree was felled for a TikTok stunt as officers arrest a man in his sixties just hours after a 16-year-old boy was released after being questioned | Daily Mail... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by Dejarma 2 months ago
i'm not outraged
Comment icon #11 Posted by Still Waters 2 months ago
A man in his 60s who was arrested over the cutting-down of the world-famous Sycamore Gap tree has been bailed. A police presence remained at the site on Friday and across the weekend, with forensics officers taking measurements and samples from the remains and photographing the area. Man accused of deliberately felling world-famous Sycamore Gap tree speaks out
Comment icon #12 Posted by simplybill 2 months ago
I live in the US, and even I’m feeling heartbroken about this. If it was a statue of a historical figure that was torn down, it wouldn’t be a big deal to me because a statue can be replaced, but an iconic tree such as this one is irreplaceable. Another tree may be planted in the same spot, but it won’t have the nostalgic value of a tree with centuries of growth and the shared affection of the public. For many people, I think the loss of that tree could be similar to the loss of a family pet. 
Comment icon #13 Posted by pellinore 2 months ago
I don't think whoever did it (one theory is it is a disgruntled farm worker who was sacked by the landowner) realised how infamous it would become. It's in the Smithsonian: England's Beloved Sycamore Gap Tree Has Been Chopped Down | Smart News| Smithsonian Magazine
Comment icon #14 Posted by WVK 2 months ago
We had a similar incident in Austin TX The Treaty Oak is a Texas live oak tree in Austin, Texas, United States, and the last surviving member of the Council Oaks, a grove of 14 trees that served as a sacred meeting place for Comanche and Tonkawa tribes before European colonization of the area. Foresters estimate the Treaty Oak to be about 500 years old.[1] Before its vandalism in 1989, the tree's branches had a spread of 127 feet (39 m). The tree is located in Treaty Oak Park, on Baylor Street between 5th and 6th Streets, in Austin's West Line Historic District. In 1989, in a deli... [More]
Comment icon #15 Posted by Still Waters 2 months ago
The Sycamore Gap tree being cut up and removed from its site next to Hadrian's Wall was "like a funeral", a National Trust manager has said. A crane has been brought in to take the trunk away, which has had to be cut into pieces as it weighed 3-4 tonnes. Andrew Poad said it felt like "the funeral or the wake" of the 19th Century Northumberland tree, which he has worked around for about 35 years. But he added: "This is where we can start talking about the future." People have been urged to stay away from the landmark while it is being removed. [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by Electric Scooter 2 months ago
I`m not outraged, I`ve not met anyone outraged, I suspect the media had a lack of stories on that day. Why the fuss about a tree?
Comment icon #17 Posted by pellinore 2 months ago
I agree that chopping down a tree is low down on the scale of global problems, I think the outrage is just because it is pointless vandalism.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Still Waters 1 month ago
Remains of Sycamore Gap tree moved to secret site over trophy hunter fears The tree that once graced and gave its name to Sycamore Gap has been cut up and its pieces held at a secret location because of fears it will go the way of the Berlin Wall – chunks of which were looted by trophy hunters, the National Trust has said. Police have reportedly caught several people trying to take pieces of the wood, while several legitimate attempts to reclaim it for purposes such as making artworks have also been made. [More]

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