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Hopes Sycamore Gap Tree 'could be brought back to life' despite devastating felling


Nature experts have said shoots from one of Britain’s most famous trees which was deliberately chopped down could regrow.

The landmark at Sycamore Gap, beside Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, was felled overnight on Wednesday.

Andrew Poad, National Trust general manager, said the stump was “healthy” and they might be able to coppice the tree, where new shoots grow from the base of a trunk.

He added: “It’s a very healthy tree, we can see that now because of the condition of the stump.

“It may well regrow a coppice from the stump and if we could nurture that, then that might be one of the best outcomes and then we keep the tree.”

The Sycamore Gap stump could grow some new shoots next spring, although it would take decades to become a new tree.

Jon Stokes, from conservation group The Tree Council, said: “It is very difficult to know if it will survive for sure, as I haven’t seen it in person, but it’s worth having hope.

“At this time of year, trees begin to store energy in their roots for next year’s growing season – and it is possible that the tree may grow some new shoots next spring.

“If they do appear, they will then take many decades to grow into a new tree – but there may be a chance. We won’t know for sure until next spring.”

Northumbria Police have arrested a teenager on suspicion of causing criminal damage.

Northumberland National Park Authority officials believe the tree, known as Robin Hood’s Tree, was “deliberately felled”.

Chief executive Tony Gates said the tree was “part of England’s identity” as it had been “a real inspiration” to artists, writers and photographers.

He said: “A lot of people have a deep connection to this place, and fond memories of this place, and to have lost that is a real shame.

He added he hoped it would not affect tourism “too much” as Northumberland had “many other beautiful things to see”.

“We’re hoping people will continue to come here, and we will look to the future and how we can continue to make this a special place for people,” he said.

The tree grew in a natural dip in the landscape near Hexham and featured in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner.

In 2016, it was named Tree of the Year in a competition organised by the Woodland Trust.

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