Who cut down the Sycamore Gap tree? Everything we know

The world-famous tree was cut down in September in what police believe was a deliberate act of vandalism.

Daniel Graham (left) and Adam Carruthers arrive at Newcastle Upon Tyne Magistrates' Court in connection with the felling of the Sycamore Gap tree. (PA)
Daniel Graham (left) and Adam Carruthers arrive at Newcastle Upon Tyne Magistrates' Court in connection with the felling of the Sycamore Gap tree. (PA)

A man accused of cutting down the famous Sycamore Gap tree in Northumberland has denied charges of criminal damage.

Daniel Graham, 38, and Adam Carruthers, 31, appeared at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday afternoon. Graham, of Milbeck Stables, Carlisle, entered pleas of not guilty, while Carruthers, of Church Street, Wigton, Cumbria, entered no pleas.

The pair are charged with criminal damage to property of a value over £5,000, namely “without lawful excuse, damaged a sycamore tree to the value of £622,191 belonging to the National Trust”.

They face a second charge of criminal damage to property valued under £5,000, namely Hadrian’s Wall, with the damage assessed to the Unesco World Heritage Site as being £1,144. Both offences were alleged to have been committed on September 28 last year.

Northumbria Police made a number of arrests after the tree was felled. A teenager and a man in his 60s were later told they will face no further action.

Workers using chainsaws have begun to remove the Sycamore Gap tree from where it was hacked down by vandals close to Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland two weeks ago. (SWNS)
The Sycamore Gap tree stood along Hadrian's Wall for about 300 years. (SWNS)
HEXHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Workers remove the tree felled at Sycamore Gap on October 12, 2023 in Hexham, England. The trunk of the tree at Sycamore Gap that was felled in an act of vandalism is being cut up and removed by the National Trust today. Northumbria Police have arrested a boy aged 16 and a man in his 60s. Both have been bailed pending further investigation. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
The remains of the Sycamore Gap tree were removed by crane in October. (Getty Images)

In December, the National Trust, which owns the land on which the tree stood, said it was hopeful the sycamore would live on after scientists found that salvaged seeds and cuttings were showing positive signs of being viable for new growth.

It is also hopeful that the trunk of the original tree will regrow, but it may be up to three years before this is known for sure.

the tree at Sycamore Gap at Hardian's Wall near Housesteads, Northumberland, UK
The Sycamore Gap tree at Hadrian's Wall before it was chopped down. (PA)

The frequently photographed tree, made famous when it appeared in the 1991 Kevin Costner film Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, was located next to Hadrian’s Wall and close to the village of Once Brewed.

The Northumberland landmark, which inspired its own beer in the nearby Twice Brewed Inn, was described as one of the most photographed in the country and was awarded Tree of the Year in 2016.

A reward of a £1,500 bar tab was offered by the pub for anyone with information that could help find who chopped the iconic tree down.

The 50ft tree was looked after by the Northumberland National Park Authority and the National Trust. The tree has been removed from the site and is now being kept at a storage facility by the National Trust.

HEXHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Workers remove the tree felled at Sycamore Gap at Sycamore Gap on October 12, 2023 in Hexham, England. The trunk of the tree at Sycamore Gap that was felled in an act of vandalism is being cut up and removed by the National Trust today. Northumbria Police have arrested a boy aged 16 and a man in his 60s. Both have been bailed pending further investigation. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Workers remove the tree felled at Sycamore Gap. (Getty Images)

The Sycamore Gap tree is reportedly being stored in a secret location to protect it from souvenir hunters. According to the Sunday Times, police caught several members of the public trying to take pieces of the tree from the site where it was felled.

Lady Jane Gibson, chairwoman of the Hadrian’s Wall Partnership, told the Sunday Times: “The wood from the tree has been taken away and stored for safekeeping at a secure location.

More North East - click image above
More North East - click image above

“There were concerns people were taking pieces of it for mementoes, like what happened with the Berlin Wall, when people would take a piece as a keepsake. It is now being safely stored as we work on potential future uses for the timber.”

The National Trust has asked the public for suggestions on what to do with the leftover wood from the felled tree, with options including turning it into a bench where the tree once stood, or even making it into pencils.

In March, Northumberland National Park said the largest section of the tree will be exhibited at the Sill, a tourist attraction in Hexham, not far from where it once stood.

Sycamore Gap at Hadrians Wall
The Sycamore Gap tree as it once stood along Hadrian's Wall. (PA)

The tree was estimated to have been at least 300 years old and while experts have said new shoots are expected to grow from it, the tree will never be the same again.

National Trust general manager Andrew Poad said the stump was “healthy” and staff might be able to coppice the tree – a technique allowing new shoots to grow from the base of a trunk. Rob Ternent, head gardener at The Alnwick Garden in Northumberland, said the tree will start growing again but “won’t ever be the same shape or as good of a tree as it was”.

He said: “It’s worth a try but I think livestock and wildlife will potentially damage it as well. It’ll be very difficult to get it back to the original tree.

“The growing season’s coming to an end now but by spring next year it will have some life in it. It’ll probably be about eight foot tall, but it’ll be lots of singular branches, more bushy. It was about 300 years old so it’ll take a long time to get back to that size. It’s a massive shame.”