National Trust removes sapling 'of hope' after felling at Sycamore Gap

Body says World Heritage status mean interference from the public is unlawful

clock • 3 min read
The National Trust has removed a sapling planted as a sign of hope after the Sycamore Gap tree felling
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The National Trust has removed a sapling planted as a sign of hope after the Sycamore Gap tree felling

The National Trust has removed a sapling planted in tribute to the felled tree at Sycamore Gap, and pleaded with the public not to disturb the historically important site.

Newcastle based Kieran Chapman established the young tree just feet from where the 300-year-old landmark had been cut down at Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland.

Mr Chapman said he had taken action to try and restore ‘hope' for all those devastated by the loss of the tree. However, just hours later the sapling was removed by National Trust officials owing to the site's Unesco World Heritage status.

"It is a load of politics and legal jargon", Mr Chapman, from Westerhope told reporters from the North East's Chronicle Live.

"I wanted to bring back some hope and love into people's lives because after the tree was felled a lot of people, including myself, were devastated because they had never been. That was my first time up there and it is really, really said for such an iconic tree to be taken away from the North."

Mr Chapman said he carried the sapling across his back like ‘Jesus carrying his cross' and was overcome with emotion at the site of the legendary sycamore, standing at the scene for 20 minutes before going ahead with the planting. He said passers-by thanked him for his efforts and were ‘over the moon' at the thought of a new tree.

However, the National Trust, which oversees the area along with the Park Authority, said it was forced to remove the sapling as the site is an ancient monument. While the body thanked members of the public for their ‘many offers of support', it pointed out any interference was ‘unlawful'.

Grateful

A spokesperson said: "We understand the strength of feeling following the events at Sycamore Gap this week - and are grateful for the many offers of support and good wishes we have received from near and far. It is important for everyone to remember that the site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a globally important archaeological setting, with UNESCO World Heritage designation, and that altering or adding to it can damage the archaeology, and is unlawful without prior consent from Government.

"We urge anyone wanting to pay tribute to the Sycamore Gap tree to speak to the National Trust first. The public can leave pictures, poems and memories at The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre. 

The trust said it has spoken to Mr Chapman and was now working with him to find a more appropriate spot in the local area.

The spokesperson added: "The National Trust and Northumberland National Park, along with other partners and local people, are making plans for the site and the Sycamore Gap tree in the future, and we will inform people as soon as we know the best way forward."

Meanwhile, members of Northumberland Police who are investigating the incident which took place on Wednesday night amid Storm Agnes, have said they have now recovered a chainsaw from a barn situated near the tree.

Police also confirmed a man in his 60s and a teenager had been questioned about the incident and released on police bail.

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