Sycamore Gap Tree Saved: Science Revives Robin Hood Tree


The Sycamore Gap Tree, a majestic landmark that stood sentinel beside Hadrian’s Wall for over a century, fell victim to vandalism in September 2023. Loved by locals and visitors alike, the tree (also known as the Robin Hood Tree) graced the landscape with its beauty since the late 1800s. The community mourned the loss of this treasured landmark. Now, only a solitary stump remains, a somber reminder of the fallen giant.

A glimmer of hope emerges

However, even in the face of sadness, a glimmer of hope emerged. The National Trust, in a commendable act of foresight, salvaged valuable pieces from the fallen tree. These pieces included seeds and young branches with buds (called scions), essential for creating exact copies of the tree through a technique called grafting. These fragments held the potential to bring the Sycamore Gap Tree back to life.

Preserving a legacy: The science of regeneration

The seeds and scions were carefully collected and transported to a secure location in Devon for safekeeping. Here, skilled horticulturists used a time-tested technique called grafting. In grafting, fresh roots are bound with the scion, allowing them to grow together and form a new, living young tree – a genetic replica of the beloved Robin Hood Tree. Seeds from the original tree were also planted at this facility.

New sycamore gap tree saplings sprout

Months later, signs of new life emerged: saplings. These saplings serve as backups, ensuring that the legacy of the Sycamore Gap continues even in the event of disease outbreaks, powerful storms, or future damage. If the stump does not regrow on its own (it will take three years for horticulturists to determine its viability), one of these saplings might take its place. But these saplings are more than just replacements; they symbolize human ingenuity and nature’s remarkable ability to preserve. While nothing can replace the original tree, what is born from its legacy will have its unique story.

Northumberland National Park

Our environmental responsibility

This story of the Sycamore Gap Tree serves as a powerful reminder of our responsibility to protect the environment. Here are some ways how you can contribute to a greener future, inspired by the resilience of this remarkable tree:

  • Plant a Tree: A simple yet powerful act, planting a tree creates a lasting legacy while benefiting the environment. Consider using a Bios Urn ®, a biodegradable urn designed to contain the cremated remains of a loved one, which grows into a memorial tree.
  • Support Conservation Efforts: Many organizations dedicate themselves to protecting trees. Volunteer your time or donate to a cause you care about.
  • Learn and Share: Knowledge is power. Learn more about the importance of trees and share your knowledge to inspire others.
  • Reduce Paper Use: Paper production is a major contributor to deforestation. Consider digital solutions and recycle paper whenever possible.
  • Explore Nature: Immerse yourself in the beauty of trees by spending time in parks or botanical gardens.

The story of the Sycamore Gap Tree may have begun with loss, but it has transformed into a testament to hope and human ingenuity. By taking action today, we can create a brighter, greener future for generations to come. Let’s draw inspiration from its story and plant a seed of change, together watching our forests flourish.


Planting a tree in memory

If you decide to plant a tree in your biodegradable urn, Bios Urn ® offers a planting guide with step-by-step instructions. All Bios Urn ® are sold without seeds because they work with any kind of seed or sapling. By using your own and sourcing it directly yourself, you can choose a tree that is sentimental and meaningful to you. To grow a beautiful tree, with or without a Bios Urn ® we need to provide it with the basic care and love it needs. You can read more on how to help your tree grow here.


Have you heard of the Sycamore Gap Tree (Robin Hood Tree)? We would love to hear from you in the Comments section below!

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