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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Mark BrownNorth of England correspondent

Cuttings from felled Sycamore Gap tree showing signs of growth, says National Trust

The famed sycamore tree at Sycamore Gap on Hadrians Wall.
The famed sycamore tree at Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall. Photograph: Murdo Macleod/The Guardian

Salvaged seeds and cuttings from the felled Sycamore Gap tree are showing positive signs of being able to grow and provide “new descendants”, the National Trust has said.

The world famous tree was cut down from its spot on Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland in late September. Police continue to investigate the felling. A man in his 60s and two men in their 30s, who were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, remain on bail.

In an update on Wednesday, the National Trust said it had high hopes that the tree will “live on” as a result of material taken shortly after the felling took place.

Andy Jasper, director of gardens and parklands at the National Trust, said work had been taking place at the organisation’s specialist rare plant propagation nursery and early results were ones to be celebrated.

“Although this wasn’t really the right time of year to do this work, we are encouraged by positive signs of life,” he said. “We are hopeful that over 30% of the mature seeds and half of the cuttings – scions – will be viable, which means we can hopefully grow new descendants from the tree in the future.

“Over the next year, we’ll be doing all we can to nurture the seeds and cuttings, in the hope that some will grow into strong, sturdy saplings – providing a new future for this much-loved tree.”

Jasper said they were also hopeful that the trunk of the original tree will regrow, but it could take up to three years before it is known if this is possible.

Few people expect anything as wonderful as the one felled to regrow there, but a small tree in most people’s lifetimes is still a possibility.

“As with many things in landscape restoration, we need to be patient and take the time to let nature do its thing,” Jasper said.

The pointlessness of the tree’s felling distressed many people, often mixed with fury.

Sycamore Gap was regarded by many as an integral part of north-east England. It was a beauty spot visited by thousands of people every year; the site of countless marriage proposals, scatterings of ashes, birthday celebrations and more.

The trust, which owns the site where the tree stood, is still deciding with partners on what sort of tribute there should be.

Some have suggested putting an artwork in its place, others have called for a replica and many believe nature should decide what comes next.

The trust said details of how the local people and communities could get involved in the tribute process would be announced in the new year.

The site’s manager, Andrew Poad, said: “We’re incredibly grateful for the many commemorative ideas we’ve received since the tree was felled. The creativity and thought behind some of these ideas has been inspiring and is an indication of just how important this tree was for so many people.”

People can submit their photos and memories of the tree to

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