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Official police inquiry being made as historic tree felled for TikTok by pranksters


The suggestion it was grounded with a chainsaw to be posted online is one of the theories detectives are probing after Sycamore Gap, beside Hadrian’s Wall, was downed on Wednesday.

Yesterday a 16-year-old boy arrested in connection with causing the iconic tree’s destruction was bailed as police explore the ­devastating mystery.

Northumberland National Park and National Trust experts are this weekend holding discussions about what to do with the chopped down trunk.

One possibility is to hire tree sculptors to turn it into a giant totem pole for the site to attract tourists. Another option would be to turn it into memorial carvings as a fundraising initiative.

An crowdfunding page for the “rejuvenation of Sycamore Gap” has already raised more than £2,000. A National Trust ­spokesperson said: “We’re very grateful for all the offers of support – from people in the North East and much further afield.

“It is clear this tree was special to many, many ­people. We will be working with Northumberland National Park, partners and the community to consider plans for the site and tree.”

There are hopes the stump might re-grow – although it would take around 200 years to return to its former size.

But National Trust general manager Andrew Poad suggested shoots could sprout from the base of a trunk – just as coppiced trees do.

Mr Poad said: “It’s a very healthy tree, we can see that 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.”

Sycamore Gap was crowned English Tree of the Year in 2016 by the Woodland Trust and attracted thousands of people after featuring in Kevin Costner’s 1991 blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Mark Feather, estate ­manager at the Woodland Trust, said it would “take a few years to develop into even a small tree and around 150 to 200 years before it is ­anywhere close to what we have lost”.

He added: “Once a tree of this age has gone, the sad truth is you can’t replace it within any visible timeframe. It takes centuries.”

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

The High Sheriff of Northumberland Diana Barkes, said it was an “emblem” of the county, and it was a “huge loss”.

She said: “Whether we can create something out of the wood for people to remember the tree, I don’t know, but maybe.”

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