Felled Sycamore Gap tree to go on public display in Northumberland | Northumberland

The largest section of the Sycamore Gap tree unlawfully cut down last December is to go on public display, Northumberland national park has announced.

The tree, which stood in a dip next to Hadrian’s Wall, will be exhibited at the Sill, a tourist attraction in Hexham, not far from where it once stood.

The national park said it had received 2,000 “heartfelt” messages from people from all around the world expressing sorrow after the tree’s toppling, labelled by Northumbrian police as a “deliberate act of vandalism”.

Though a man in his 60s and a 16-year-old boy were arrested in connection with the incident, no further action was taken.

The felling provoked an outpouring of shock and anger.

Hexham Conservative MP Guy Opperman described locals as “devastated” by the destruction of what he called a “symbol of the north-east”. Hairy Biker celebrity chef Si King, who grew up in County Durham, described the incident on social media as the “murder” of a “sentinel of time and the elemental spirit of Northumberland”. Historic England said a section of Hadrian’s Wall – constructed between AD122 and AD130 – was damaged when the tree came down.

The authority said it was mulling over various options aimed at preserving the tree’s legacy for future generations. One option under consideration is to leave the stump alone in the hope that it will regrow. Other ideas involve creating art installations from parts of the felled section and making the site a place of reflection.

Chief executive officer Tony Gates said: “The felling of the Sycamore Gap tree has shown just how much nature and landscape mean to people and to their very wellbeing. As stewards of the legacy of Sycamore Gap, the partners have been humbled by the outpouring of love and emotion for the tree.

“We understand the diversity of opinions surrounding a future legacy and are committed to navigating this journey with the utmost care and respect. We are grateful for everyone’s patience and understanding.”

A fence has been placed around the remaining stump so that it remains protected but can still be seen. “We are looking to see how nature responds at the site,” said a spokesperson.

Standing near the village of Once Brewed, the tree marked a significant spot along the 135km Hadrian’s Wall route between Wallsend, North Tyneside and Bowness-on-Solway, Cumbria.

Believed to have been planted in the late 1800s by one-time landowner John Clayton, and intended to be “a feature of the landscape”, the tree was long a popular location for walkers and photographers on account of its unusual and scenic setting.

It gained further renown when it was featured in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, garnering the nickname the “Robin Hood Tree”, despite being 273km from Sherwood Forest.

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