Two men charged over felling of famous Sycamore Gap tree

Two men have been charged over the felling of the Sycamore Gap tree in Northumberland last September.

Daniel Graham, 38, and Adam Carruthers, 31, have been charged with causing criminal damage to the tree and Hadrian’s Wall, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Both are due to appear at South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court on 15 May.

The Sycamore Gap tree before it was cut down (Warner Bros/Netflix)
The Sycamore Gap tree before it was cut down (Warner Bros/Netflix)

There was a national outcry in September when the much-loved, 200-year-old tree was found to have been cut down.

Northumberland National Park (NNP) said it had received 2,000 “heartfelt” messages from people from all around the world expressing sadness and that it had been inundated with offers of help.

Celebrity chefs, the Hairy Bikers, were among those to share their outrage at the axing of the tree. Si King, one half of the duo, said the culprit had “murdered” the “spirit” of Northumberland in comments that underlined the strength of feeling about the tree.

A woman who wrote a poem was among those to have paid tribute to the tree, describing it as a “sentinel of time”.

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Laura Charlton said she wrote the poem, an Ode to a Sycamore Tree, to try to capture the “recklessness of the actions and the sense of bereavement the locals are feeling”.

Residents from across the UK – not just in Northumberland – expressed their anger at the felling of the tree.

Stephen Gallen, from Castlederg in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, said it was “horrifying that someone could destroy something as beautiful as the tree on Hadrian’s wall”.

Forensic investigators from Northumbria Police examine the felled tree (PA)
Forensic investigators from Northumbria Police examine the felled tree (PA)

In an update last month, the NNP said that the largest section of the sycamore would go on display at The Sill, a tourist attraction close to its original site, in September, following weeks of speculation about what would happen to its remains.

They added that this would “provide people with a lasting connection to the tree”.

The stump remains in its original spot in the hope it will regrow in time.

In December, the National Trust said they were closely monitoring the seeds and material collected from the original tree – which were being cared for at the charity’s specialist plant conservation centre.

The tree, believed to have been one of the most photographed in the country, used to sit in a gap along Hadrian’s Wall – a Unesco world heritage site – and a popular hotspot for tourists and walkers.

Its origins are believed to have dated back to medieval times and it has been excavated on two previous occasions – between 1908 and 1911 and again between 1982 and 1987 – when Roman remains linked to Hadrian’s Wall were found.

The sycamore perhaps first became known around the globe after featuring in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman and Alan Rickman.